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Perfecting process integrity


A company that serves healthcare providers has chosen a request management solution to automate the task of physician referrals. Think First—a revenue cycle services firm geared to improving the financial performance of hospitals and physician practices through operational improvement and technology projects--has implemented a solution from Integrify. Chris George, founder and CEO of Think First, says, “Integrify OnDemand was intriguing to us because we go into a lot of facilities with workflow challenges and process problems.”

Think First is deploying the new system at The Hospital of Saint Raphael, a 511-bed community teaching hospital affiliated with Yale University School of Medicine. According to Integrify CEO David Wilsey, the hospital has previously used a manual process of doctors’ referrals to specialists. Staff at primary-care physician offices had to fill out paper forms, submit them to the hospital and wait for the hospital to process the forms, set an appointment and notify the patient.

The manual method required many steps and, often, the involvement of as many as 20 to 30 people. Also, doctors complained that the requests were not being processed in a timely fashion and that some requests were falling through the cracks. More importantly, according to George, the hospital staff was never quite certain how many requests were in the queue at any given time. Think First recognized the need for automating the process to allow for faster throughput and better tracking capabilities.

“The ultimate goal,” says George, “is to give the hospital some technology to manage the process so that an any point in time, we’ll know the number of referrals that have come in.”

After the new system is implemented, the referral process will be completely paperless, accord to Integrify. Additionally, users will be able to see where in the process each request is in real time. That will allow Think First to do Six Sigma analysis and time-and-motion studies on the process to determine which steps are taking more time and how they can be revised to save time.


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