ReferWell™ is a cloud-based referral automation solution that empowers primary doctors to schedule patient visits with the right doctor, right away and to share clinical information easily and securely across any electronic medical record (EMR) system. Created by doctors, for doctors, ReferWell was the vision of an interventional cardiologist who saw a broken, manual process and created a simple to use but extremely powerful solution that benefits providers, patients, and payers.
ReferWell benefits patients by improving their compliance to referral instructions, leading to better health outcomes; it benefits providers by helping them to provide better care through facilitating coordination of care, reducing their administrative burden and ensuring that more referred patients follow-through with their specialist visit; it benefits health care payers and lowers cost by eliminating out-of-network visits and directing patients to the optimal care provider, reducing total cost of care.
Because it’s cloud-based, there is no software to install. Merely by activating their account and managing their profile on the HIPAA-compliant platform, providers can be assured of simplified clinical and demographic data sharing regardless of the EMR of each care provider, from large hospitals on complex EHRs to small independent practices with simple EMR to therapists with barely-automated offices. The referring doctor merely identifies the patient’s insurance and the specialty/treatment required, and the system returns a list, in order of convenience to the patient’s preferred location, of matching doctors with available appointments. The ReferWell system provides the patient printed instructions as well as automated notifications and reminders, to maximize compliance.
Faxing a referral puts the burden on the specialist’s office staff and the patient to connect and arrive at a convenient schedule (which happens successfully only half the time, industry-wide); then the staff must contact the referring doctor to share results (which happens successfully only one-third of the time, industry-wide). Finally, the staff must manually re-enter any patient information into their EMR. ReferWell’s automated referral arrives with the appointment already scheduled (which dramatically increases patient compliance, while eliminating staff effort); ReferWell carries the patient information securely between providers such that reporting visit results back to the referring provider happens more than twice as often; and ReferWell facilitates simple file-sharing with each provider’s EMR so staff don’t have to manually re-enter information, not only saving time and effort but greatly reducing transcription errors.
There are literally hundreds of different EMR systems in use across the healthcare provider landscape. The holy grail of technology is to create standards allowing “everything to everything interoperability”, and that valiant effort will proceed at least through the lifetimes of the reader and writer of this sentence… Additionally, there is a wide variety -- across the broad spectrum of care providers in our healthcare system -- of workflow processes used to refer patients out as well as to accept new patients into their various EMRs. ReferWell doesn’t solve this problem. It merely facilitates a simpler, more straightforward way for the two doctors in any referral appointment to interact around that specific patient. The system was built for provider-to-provider collaboration in the identification, scheduling, and sharing of critical information about their mutual patient.
By not requiring that a doctor integrate to their EMR to gain the benefits of the system (but accommodating any provider who wants to integrate), ReferWell unifies the many workflows already in place and solves the one gnarly piece of the puzzle that has resisted automation and standardization until now. Being cloud-based allows us to securely move data between any EMR platforms in both an integrated or a non-integrated operation. The simplicity of the ReferWell GUI and workflow allows it to accommodate the differences across practices and specialties and care settings with ease.
(Note: HEDIS is a widely used set of performance measures, developed and maintained by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or NCQA). While there are numerous components of the quality measurements facing doctors today, the electronic data sharing requirements are among the most costly and vexing. ReferWell facilitates measurable, audit-ready electronic data sharing that meets the Meaningful Use guidelines with much less cost and complexity. Additionally, there are a number of measures involving the quality of referral management and value-based care coordination that are also positively impacted by the use of ReferWell. Finally, ReferWell facilitates the addressing of care gaps that payers, especially those providing Medicare plans, must address in order to achieve higher star ratings.
Patient experience improves dramatically – our clients’ data shows that compliance DOUBLES -- when patients receive a committed appointment schedule while still at the primary point of care. It’s human nature that this task, if relegated to something that needs to be done at some unspecified later date and time, will be completed less often. The key is that, with ReferWell, the primary provider can cement the commitment to the follow-up while the patient is still under their direction. All at a lower administrative burden, since ReferWell takes on the complexities of operationalizing all the different rules and restrictions of individual payer plans.
Providers (and their overworked staffs) today handle an inordinate task list that includes managing patients’ anxieties and individual circumstances; managing the interaction with an extremely complicated and intractable insurance payer environment; and finally, keeping up with a seemingly endless stream of regulatory oversight and reporting requirements. Is it any wonder that few offices even know what their overall referral statistics are, and how to improve them? ReferWell not only streamlines the referral process but provides full transparency and data to allow a practice or a group or a payer network to better analyze their referral patterns and take corrective actions where indicated.
For the healthcare payer, it’s about reducing total cost of care while improving (or at least not degrading) the health outcomes. These seemingly contradictory goals come into alignment whenever the care provider can be selected with both goals firmly in mind – the problem is that few providers have the data, or the broad-based perspective, to make this happen at the point of care. With ReferWell, payers can implement their quality management initiatives without requiring each provider to have a PhD in the operational rules of each payer. The end result is better patient experience and compliance leading to better outcomes at a lower total cost.
One of the fundamental premises of value-based care delivery is that decisions on what is the best next treatment step are guided by concern for the patient’s ultimate health outcome, not just the next treatment in isolation. By facilitating immediate information sharing between providers and “closing the loop” with the primary care doctor, ReferWell supports this fundamental premise. Adding in the system’s ability to gently but effectively guide the referral toward the most clinically-optimized-outcome as a next step, ReferWell becomes a critical underpinning of any value-based care network.
The simple answer is: if you’re dealing with patients who are covered by a variety of insurance plans, or if you’re an insurance provider whose providers must interact with a variety of different insurance plan… then you should look into how ReferWell can streamline your referral process to produce dramatic results.