By DISC Corporation | December 8, 2021

Slow indexing and scanning of electronic medical records means that most medical clinics struggle to close the referral loop. In fact, one analysis shows that only 34.8% of referrals result in a documented complete appointment. That means nearly two-thirds of all referrals suffer from a substantial disconnect between specialists and their referring primary care providers (PCPs).

This breakdown leaves informational gaps that increase risks for your patients. Without complete and up-to-date records, delays in care are more frequent. The likelihood of medical error increases, including missed or incorrect diagnoses.

Beyond the risks, open referrals create frustration for your patients and can result in negative HCAHPS scores. Patients may not always perceive their increased risk, but they certainly know when they feel dissatisfied.

Open referrals also prevent your providers from working at their full potential. Specialists need to review a patient’s medical history before offering accurate, well-considered recommendations. And PCPs need quick access to specialists’ notes to stay informed on patients’ treatment plans. Updated information is the most powerful tool for providing great care.

Timely information is the foundation of quality care

There are numerous factors, of course. Some fall outside the scope of a clinic’s abilities. For instance, when a patient doesn’t have adequate transportation, they may never even book an appointment.

But the most alarming reason boils down to poor communication.

Roughly 70% of referring physicians report sending patient history, while less than 35% of specialty clinics report receiving it. So, 65% of specialists walk into the treatment room without the information they need for the appointment.

Similarly, PCPs may not have reports from specialists to know what treatments have been recommended for their patients. If the documents come at all, they often arrive too late.

To effectively close the loop, referral documentation must be processed quickly and accurately—all of it.

Close the loop faster with automated scanning of electronic medical records

Most filing methods are slow and inefficient. They rely on manual data entry instead of faster and more accurate software automation.

Your team does their best to work quickly, but hand-keying information takes time (even for the most efficient workers). And with so many other demands on their attention, it’s easy to build up a long queue of documents waiting to be filed.

When administrators do have a chance to process records, they often rush through the workflow. With so many other tasks and distractions to deal with, they have to. Mistakes get made, and they can sometimes cause delays that further decrease the likelihood of closing the loop.

But there is a better alternative.

An automated indexing service, like SmartFiler, helps close the loop more often. It uses technology to read incoming documents and file them correctly, regardless of which EHR platform your group uses.

It only takes a few clicks to get your incoming records indexed within as little as four hours. The software handles nearly everything automatically. But if there’s ever anything tricky about a document, like a low-quality scan or illegible handwriting, SmartFiler has highly-trained experts standing by to ensure an accuracy rate of up to 99.99%.

If your provider group is ready to improve your referral process, let us know. We’re happy to answer your questions and talk about how SmartFiler can help you close the loop.

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