Soothing growing pains while eliminating referral anxiety

“LeadingReach helps us manage the large volume and keep it organized site-by-site and state by state. To plug-and-play as we scale across locations and markets with LeadingReach working with all our other operational systems is a big part of that.”

Emily Helling, Operating Partner

  • Founded in 2016
  • Specializing in interventional pain management
  • Serving 5 States

The Challenge

Helping patients suffering from debilitating pain navigate a path back toward freedom and normalcy by discovering long-term pain management solutions is a challenging, unique task— no two patients, nor their pain is ever the same.

So before the doctors at Commons Surgery Centers can begin charting a course to help each patient referred to them, that patient has been on a
long, winding and painful path, a complicated, messy journey impossible to summarize and contextualize on a referral card.

Commons, a growing group of surgery centers, opening new facilities across multiple states, found managing an increasing volume of unorganized and unstructured referrals a chronic, nagging pain of its own, making their core task—finding long-term pain management for patients—an even harder task.

“Referrals, whether via email or fax, coming in across several centers and at high volumes, quickly became overwhelming and tasking to track which referrer which patients were coming from,” Emily Helling, an operating partner at Commons said. “It is really difficult when everyone is doing something different, difficult for us to manage and difficult for referring providers not knowing who to direct questions to.”

And the old spreadsheet approach was painful for everyone involved—patient, referring office and Commons.

“It truly was a cluster, whether it came via email or fax or text, it became increasingly difficult to delegate tasks and duties and know who was responsible for what, and who was handling what, and we weren’t able to keep our referring offices comfortably in the loop every step of the way,” Helling said.

But the most nagging problem for the growing group of surgery centers, which receives many of their referrals from chiropractors was finding a solution that streamlined their process while also comforting anxious and often fearful providers who’ve built long, lasting relationships with their patients.

“We had to come up with a solution to help referring offices feel comfortable [with us] and manage their patients as an extension of the care they provide, as a part of their holistic patient care and retention,” Helling said.

At the moments their patients were suffering the most, Commons knew they needed to make the entire referral process, and their entire culture of communication with those concerned providers and their patients a more comforting experience, while creating a replicable, scalable, unified process across their offices.

“We weren’t able to keep our referring offices comfortably in the loop every step of the way.”

The Solution

Introduced to LeadingReach’s care coordination platform from one of their partners who was using the platform in another practice, Commons Surgery Centers adopted and adapted the solution to fit the specific needs of a fast-growing,
high-volume practice with multiple locations across many states.

“I knew we needed a solution to tighten up our operations. So as soon as I stepped in, LeadingReach became a big part of that,” Helling, who heads up operations at Commons, said. “We molded it to our operational process. Everything that is going on with a patient is in one place now, with a very flexible, intuitive platform.”

Having implemented LeadingReach to manage all of their referrals and care coordination communication three years ago, Helling now looks to their operational culture, anchored by LeadingReach as a competitive strength.

“The way we use LeadingReach is definitely something I brag on, and I am happy to have it as part of our operations, as it streamlines everything, helps everyone know what is going on with the patient,” Helling said. “Instead of redundant emails and text messages and phone calls, there is this organized, easy-to-use, unified place where everything lives as soon as that patient is referred to us, it is all there.”

Having discovered the simplicity and user- friendliness of LeadingReach’s design and experience helpful for her operations team, the true benefits for Commons from gaining quick, painless adoption from their existing and new referrers.

“It is extremely user friendly and easy to train. Doesn’t take me longer than 20 minutes to go into a new office and show them our process, how to create a referral and show them what to click to upload to LeadingReach,” Helling said. “Over time they get more used of it they start to realize the power with some of the more in-depth features, but the basics of how to send a referral and how to receive it on our end, and how to view and get into more of the details as we help their patients is simple and powerful.”

Commons has found their referring providers love how simple and intuitive the system is, how easy it is to upload and link relevant documents to the right place and the value of having the full referral history with every bit of back-and-forth communication and updates unified in one place.

“Once we show referral coordinators it’s just three simple steps to submit a referral, they love it,” Helling said. “By emphasizing educating and empowering providers to embrace and enhance their practices using LeadingReach, we have found great success not just onboarding offices to compile the items for the checklist we need uploaded to LeadingReach, but they then discover the benefit is allowing them, the referring office to be in constant communication on what is going on with that patient and communicating back and forth on what is needed.”

And with all their offices on a unified, replicable system that scales across locations and states, Commons unlocking valuable visibility, usability and scalability powering the growth of their growing practice.

“Dashboard analytics help us see the basics of what our partners want to know, how many referrals, from where, how successful are those referrals, which quickly helps us to see blips in the workflow, where we need more training with a new referrer, or more operational help for us on the back-end,” Helling said.

Heavy users of customized versions of both statues and tags, Helling and her team continue to find new ways to squeeze more value out of the LeadingReach platform.

“It allows for several hands to be working simultaneously while allowing everyone to know what is going on so that nothing is confused. Exorbitantly helpful for us,” Helling said.

Adopting LeadingReach’s ability to notify relevant parties of important updates or when their help is needed with Team Mentions or Direct Messages has helped their high-volume practice keep providers in the loop, engaged and not overwhelmed as they grow and scale.

“The ability to mention individuals and teams, so they know what is going on and what is
most relevant and urgent to them at that moment is incredible,” Helling said. “We’ve found it extremely useful that everyone can stay in the loop, but know they don’t need to worry about it until they are directly mentioned. Because we are high volume, and have some providers that are sending 20 to 30 referrals a month, for the providers to not be notified every time something is updated, but they can check in at any time and see what is going on has been great. But to pay attention to any notifications from being mentioned, because that’s when we need something from you.”

“Dashboard analytics help us see the basics of what our partners want to know, how many referrals, from where, how successful are those referrals, which quickly helps us to see blips in the workflow, where we need more training with a new referrer, or more operational help for us on the back-end.”

The Results

For Commons Surgery Centers, LeadingReach has been instrumental in creating a culture of care as an extension of the existing relationships their referring providers have cultivated, resulting
in excited providers and even more happy patients who rediscover more freedom with lasting pain-management solutions.

“Providers are ecstatic that they are going to know exactly what is going on with their patient. Now they know our referrals are an extension of their practice, we don’t want to take your patient and takeover their care, we want to be an extension of the care you are currently providing and the only way for us to do that is to continue to be in constant communication about that patient, and that takes place via LeadingReach,” Helling said. “To be able to see when that patient is scheduled, see the op reports of what happened with that patient, see their follow up notes, communicate back-and-forth about that patient’s diagnosis, it really is an added sales benefit for your practice as you are trying to elicit referrals.”

The investment in strengthening their referral process and culture has been a powerful business force as Commons has developed referring providers into confident partners in care.

“LeadingReach is worth every penny, helps operationally on the backend, helps onboard providers, helps our providers feel more comfortable,” Helling said. “To transform from a place where providers think they might lose the patient, and are not getting much communication about it the process, and instead be able to act as an extension of their practice by communicating back and forth with them about that patient, and showing them what is going on, in an easy-to-use, unified place is invaluable.”

With a scalable and visible process tuned for a high-volume practice and process, Commons has been able to leverage their operational success into expansion opportunities.

“We intend to grow, we want to be able to expand, and the way you do that is replicability and the ability to plug-and-play in operations,” Helling said. “LeadingReach helps us manage the large volume and keep it organized site-by-site and state by state. To plug-and-play as we scale across locations and markets with LeadingReach working with all our other operational systems is a big part of that.”

Now thanks to a strong operational culture anchored by LeadingReach, Helling and her team relish opening new locations and helping more patients get the care they deserve.

“The ability to mention individuals and teams, so they know what is going on and what is most relevant and urgent to them at that moment is incredible.”