Improving the (work) flow

“Our time frame of actually getting an appointment scheduled has sped up by 50%. Just because we are able to track it, and keep up with it, and see who and when we left the last message.”

Amy Bruner, Office Manager

  • 2 providers
  • 3 Locations
  • Serving North Texas since 2016
  • EHR: eCW

Doctors’ offices, like the human body, are complex organisms made up of many interconnected systems. And much like the human body, tiny miscalibrations in one input or occasional interruptions in one flow can compound into bigger problems for the entire office’s operations.

For Precision Endocrinology, a specialist with offices in Denton and Frisco, Texas, tiny clogs in their system of handling inbound referrals began to hamper the health of the entire practice.

Amy Bruner, who manages Precisions’ offices, felt things spiraling out of control for the young practice as they dealt with a daily onslaught of incoming, faxed referrals on top of the 200 incoming phone calls they receive each day.

“We get a large number of referrals everyday,” Bruner said. “We are extremely busy. We have had a very difficult time trying to make a process for our scheduling. Our EMR just wasn’t great when it comes to tracking [referrals].”

Bruner soon discovered LeadingReach’s purpose-built referral management platform, precisely tuned to handle every step of patient pipeline management, empowering Precision Endocrinology to schedule referrals for visits up to 50% faster, leading to a nearly 70% increase in monthly new patients.

The Challenge

For Precision, the biggest problem was an ineffective system for organizing new referrals inside their EMR system. While their software did capture all incoming faxes and log them as referrals, each separate fax would become its own, new file, piling up into folders full of unsearchable, unlinked files.

“Because you couldn’t search [the referrals] by name, or by date of birth, you just would have to go in there and scroll through 15 pages of referrals until you found it, which was very time consuming,” Bruner said. “But the biggest problem was there was no way to give a notification to anyone that we received something. Unless that person is just going in and looking, they might not know it [the referal or an attached medical record] is there.”

And while Bruner and her front office teammates were able to make the EMR work, the clumsy and cumbersome process bogged down their entire office in many ways, with constant phone calls from providers and patients wanting to check in on the status of their referral constantly interrupting their day with one-off requests.

“They call us and leave a message, we call them and leave a message. Just back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. That takes time out of your day to do that when you could be working on something else,” Bruner said. “There was no tracking availability. So we would have to go into those folders every day, and start at the end of the 15 pages and see which referral needed to be called again.”

“There was no tracking availability. So we would have to go into those folders every day, and start at the end of the 15 pages and see which referral needed to be called again.”

The Solution

Feeling the break down of using their EHR eCW to manage their referrals, Precision Endocrinology found LeadingReach’s holistic patient pipeline management features completely solved their problems managing inbound referrals and care coordination with referring offices.

“LeadingReach has helped us a tremendous amount. I liked it immediately, it made more sense to me,” Bruner said. “Our team has caught onto it very quick.”

For Bruner, her referral coordinator, and the three others in the front office, the daily flow is now much smoother, with instant access to the status of each-and-every referral, and with tasks and notifications, every teammate knows exactly where a patient stands and what the next thing they can accomplish.

With LeadingReach unlocking visibility into every inch of the referral process, and creating simple ways to share responsibility across the entire team eliminated confusion and increased their ability to get new patients scheduled.

“It is really good for my scheduler to create herself tasks and get reminders, and I can tag her in a referral and say ‘Hey, this needs to be taken care of.’ It is really nice,” Bruner said. “I go home at night and work, and I can send out reminders and tasks to other people in the office, and it is there for them first thing in the morning.”

For their two doctors instant and easy access to powerful reports provides valuable insights into their practice’s lifecycle in seconds.

“For our doctors, it is very useful for them to just go in and see, ‘how many referrals do I have, and this is where they are at in the process,’” Bruner said.

“I go home at night and work, and I can send out reminders and tasks to other people in the office, and it is there for them first thing in the morning.”

The Results

Having diagnosed and addressed their own bottlenecks with LeadingReach, Precision Endocrinology’s 4-year-old practice is now growing and thriving.

“Everything [about referrals] is being done in LeadingReach, so it is all trackable and documented,” Bruner said. “Our time frame of actually getting an appointment scheduled has sped up by 50%. Just because we are able to track it, and keep up with it, and see who and when we left the last message. We are able to get those much faster.”

Where before it could take up to two weeks to get an initial visit scheduled, now with LeadingReach, Bruner and her team are finding the flexibility to better serve all their patients.

“It allows us to now answer the phone and answer the questions they have right then and serve those patients. What used to take 5 or 10 minutes to find, now we pull up in seconds. It’s right there so we can do it quickly,” Bruner said. “LeadingReach helped us get our patients in faster.”

With their referral system now humming thanks to LeadingReach, Bruner and her team are now able to better serve more patients, faster, often being able to take a new referral and make first contact with that patient up-to 80% faster than before.

“Patients are very demanding right now, if you can’t get me in I am going to go somewhere else. So we have to figure out how to get people in faster,” Bruner said. “It’s kind of crazy. Our doctors schedule would have 5 new patient slots a day on schedule available, all of those are taken now, and we’ve actually had to create a new day a month just to meet new patients, to meet increased demand. Before, it was never full.”

Not only are they serving more new patients, but with the precision provided by LeadingReach, now Bruner and her team can better meet the urgent needs many in their community are facing.

“Now, when a referral comes in STAT, now we can mark it with an ‘urgent’ tag in LeadingReach, and now we can get them contacted, scheduled and
in much quicker, to be able to see those patients much faster now,” Bruner said. “When we know it’s an urgent need, we can now organize that process to be able to prioritize and be able to get those people who need it urgently first.”

“Our doctors schedule would have 5 new patient slots a day on schedule available, all of those are taken now, and we’ve actually had to create a new day a month just to meet new patients.”