Cantex Continuing Care Network and Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries announced last month that, along with Netsmart, they were launching the Netsmart Referral Manager. This system allows more efficiency, the providers said, and reflects a growing need to better manage referrals. 

An automated solution eliminates phone calls, faxes or manual data entry. With  the Referral Manager, Cantex and Diakon said the time to process qualified referrals has decreased by 73%.

“We have been able to remove a lot of the cumbersome documentation,” said Deanna Ziemba, Diakon senior vice president. “We can breeze through forms and notes, whittling down our referral process.”

A clinically-driven patient view is “particularly vital to the referral decision process,” Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine told McKnight’s. “This is not about just electronically exchanging messages; this requires advanced logic that is driven by a combination of real-time integration with EHRs and robust interoperability.”

The referral process also impacts how acute-care facilities are looking for skilled nursing options. PointClickCare’s Harmony lets acute care facilities review historical and current facility performance data, said B. J. Boyle, vice president and general manager of post-acute insights.

Frustratingly, though, PointClickCare found in a recent study that nearly half of acute-care providers are still using faxes, and 36% are using manual-only options to coordinate patient transitions.

 MatrixCare also is focused on interoperability. Product Manager Bradley Lawton cautions against using disconnected third-party referral management tools.

“Let’s face it, we simply don’t have time to enter data multiple times in multiple systems,” he said. “Connected referral management tools should be flexible enough to support referral management in all care settings, including assisted/independent living, skilled nursing, home health and hospice.”