Coordination of specialty referrals and physician satisfaction with referral care.
ABSTRACT To describe how physicians coordinate patient care for specialty referrals and to examine the effects of these activities on referring physicians' satisfaction with the specialty care their patients receive and referral completion.
Prospective study of a consecutive sample of referrals (N = 963) made from the offices of 122 pediatricians in 85 practices in a national practice-based research network. Data sources included a physician survey completed when the referral was made (response rate, 99%) and a physician survey and medical record review conducted 3 months later (response rate, 85%). Referral completion was defined as receipt of written communication of referral results from the specialist.
Pediatricians scheduled appointments with specialists for 39.3% and sent patient information to specialists for 50.8% of referrals. The adjusted odds of referral completion were increased 3-fold for those referrals for which the pediatrician scheduled the appointment and communicated with the specialist compared with those for which neither activity occurred. Referring physicians' satisfaction ratings were significantly increased by any type of specialist feedback and were highest for referrals involving specialist feedback by both telephone and letter. Elements of specialists' letters that significantly increased physician ratings of letter quality included presence of patient history, suggestions for future care, follow-up arrangements, and plans for comanaging care; only the inclusion of plans for comanaging patient care was significantly related to the referring physicians' overall satisfaction.
Better coordination between referring physicians and specialists increases physician satisfaction with specialty care and enhances referral completion. Improvements in the referral process may be achieved through better communication and collaboration between primary care physicians and specialists.
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ABSTRACT: Care coordination between the specialty care provider (SCP) and the primary care provider (PCP) is a critical component of safe, efficient, and patient-centered care. Veterans Health Administration conducted a series of focus groups of providers, from specialty care and primary care clinics at VA Medical Centers nationally, to assess 1) what SCPs and PCPs perceive to be current practices that enable or hinder effective care coordination with one another and 2) how these perceptions differ between the two groups of providers. A qualitative thematic analysis of the gathered data validates previous studies that identify communication as being an important enabler of coordination, and uncovers relationship building between specialty care and primary care (particularly through both formal and informal relationship-building opportunities such as collaborative seminars and shared lunch space, respectively) to be the most notable facilitator of effective communication between the two sides. Results from this study suggest concrete next steps that medical facilities can take to improve care coordination, using as their basis the mutual understanding and respect developed between SCPs and PCPs through relationship-building efforts.Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 01/2015; 8:47-58. DOI:10.2147/JMDH.S73469
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ABSTRACT: Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are organizations that involve practicing clinicians in asking and answering clinically relevant research questions. This review explores the origins, characteristics, funding, and lessons learned through practice-based research in the United States. Primary care PBRNs emerged in the USA in the 1970s. Early studies explored the etiology of common problems encountered in primary care practices (eg, headache, mis-carriage), demonstrating the gap between research conducted in controlled specialty settings and real-world practices. Over time, national initiatives and an evolving funding climate have shaped PBRN development, contributing to larger networks, a push for shared electronic health records, and the use of a broad range of research methodologies (eg, observational studies, pragmatic randomized controlled trials, continuous quality improvement, participatory methods). Today, there are over 160 active networks registered with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's PBRN Resource Center that engage primary care clinicians, pharmacists, dentists, and other health care professionals in research and quality-improvement initiatives. PBRNs provide an important laboratory for encouraging collaborative research partnerships between academicians and practices or communities to improve population health, conduct comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes research, and study health policy reform. PBRNs continue to face critical challenges that include: (1) adapting to a changing landscape; (2) recruiting and retaining membership; (3) securing infrastructure support; (4) straddling two worlds (academia and community) and managing expectations; and (5) prepar-ing for workforce transitions.