Featured Practice: Columbus Eye Clinic — Closing the Referral Loop

Our featured practice this week is Columbus Eye Clinic & Laser Surgery Center. This clinic has worked diligently to improve the referral process, focusing specifically on ensuring that practices that refer patients to them receive clinic notes after the patient is seen. The clinic has witnessed steady increases in receipt of specialists report, in fact, their data top 90%, showing they have almost closed this gap entirely

Columbus Eye Clinic joined TCPI to take advantage of opportunities to transform the patient experience. The clinic provides a range of friendly, professional care for routine eye exams and disease management. They emphasize open communication and collaboration with patients, within their own care teams, and with collaborating practices to provide coordinated care.        

Prior to TCPI, the clinic acknowledged its inadequate consultation and referral process, with one of the major pain points being lack of timeliness in information sharing between the requesting physician and specialist. To remedy this, the clinic launched a PDSA cycle that started with ensuring patients’ referring provider was listed in the EHR when they came for an appointment. A new data field was added to the EHR and a function was created to generate a signed copy of the clinic note after each visit. These notes are automatically sent to the referring provider, and the clinic regularly runs compliance reports to close any gaps. If the referring provider is unable to receive an electronic transfer, a letter is faxed.  

At baseline, only 6% of referring providers were receiving the specialist report. Referrals lose value if information is not easily shared between providers. Columbus Eye shows how a simple protocol can make a big difference. After two years of following this new protocol, that rate is now 92%. Columbus Eye Clinic has demonstrated how simple and straightforward changes utilizing technology have aided in closing the referral loop. You can read more about their transformation story here.  

 

The views expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of Columbus Eye Clinic. Additionally, this work was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, under grant number 1CMS331549-03-00. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.