In 2018, Wentworth-Halton X-Ray & Ultrasound Inc. transitioned from solely paper-based referrals and fax machines to receiving electronic referrals on the Ocean eReferral Network. Today, they reject fewer referrals, spend less time on the phone requesting more information and scheduling appointments, patients arrive more prepared, and everyone is kept in the loop.
Wentworth-Halton X-Ray & Ultrasound Inc. (WH X-Ray) operates 13 diagnostic imaging clinics serving the Greater Hamilton and Halton area. With dozens of fellowship trained radiologists and expertly trained medical staff, the team receives a high volume of phone calls and incoming faxes from physicians looking for available appointments. The sheer number of requests coupled with inefficient, paper-and-fax based systems was an ongoing source of frustration for the clinic staff, often leading to duplicated efforts and wasted appointments.
Paul Faguy, Executive Director of WH X-Ray, was determined to find a way to use technology to address these challenges. With his previous experience as an Executive Director for a Family Health Team, he had a strong understanding of both ends of the referral process. He also knew that integration with primary care EMRs would be critical to a successful solution. After learning about Ocean eReferrals, he was confident it was the right choice.
“The Ocean eReferral Network is a great example of implementing modern technology in healthcare the right way, like you see done in other industries,” explained Faguy. “We want to use the power of information technology, digital communications and the electronic medical record to help everyone involved – the patient, the primary care provider, the specialist, and the staff in both clinics.”
In April 2018, Paul and his team at WH X-Ray took the plunge and implemented Ocean eReferrals. Using Ocean’s highly customizable form builder, the team applied mandatory fields and conditional logic that would automatically enforce appropriateness criteria right in the eReferral form. This helps to ensure requisitions are valid and complete before they can be sent through, reducing the number of referrals that are rejected.
Ocean also simplifies the process of requesting and receiving previous scans, images, and reports from referring physicians. These attachments are often missing from faxed referrals. With Ocean’s provider-to-provider messaging feature, the clinic can contact the referring physician in real-time and request that missing attachments be added to the eReferral electronically.
“People often don’t realize how many interruptions there are when it comes to communicating provider-to-provider,” said Carly Jones, Client Relations Specialist at WH X-Ray. “With Ocean, the time spent tracking down physicians is now very limited. We’re not waiting for faxes or calls – everything is done via the Ocean Portal. The response often comes back in seconds because it pops up on their EMR.”
Ocean’s automated email notifications also help to reduce the number of patients who arrive unprepared for their appointments. These emails notify both the patient and referring physician about the appointment’s booking status, appointment time, and any instructions for the patient. By helping to ensure patients have all the information they need, the clinics experience better patient adherence, resulting in fewer procedures that must be rescheduled. By reducing the number of costly, unused appointment slots, the clinics are also decreasing overall patient wait times.
After only a year, WH-Xray has received thousands of eReferrals, positively impacting both patients and providers. With eReferrals, the clinics can offer their primary care and specialist colleagues an easy way to send imaging requisitions, track outstanding requisitions, and communicate in real-time from their EMR. By making the overall referral process more efficient, eReferrals are helping to enable better, faster patient care, one less paper fax at a time.
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5500+ eReferrals received
85+ sending providers
1000’s of patients received appointment alerts
Fewer errors & rejected referrals
Reduced overall wait times