Ways Healthcare Administrators can Prevent Patient Leakage

January 17, 2023

Healthcare is a highly competitive industry, and it is so competitive that any inefficiencies in the system can endanger a healthcare provider's success. One such inefficiency is patient leakage when a healthcare provider fails to retain its current patients and instead loses them to competitors.

If referrals do not get handled appropriately, patient leakage could lead to revenue loss. Moreover, a Fibroblast study indicates that 43 percent of health managers lose more than 10 percent of their revenue to patients who seek care elsewhere.

The study found that nineteen percent of executives report losing twenty percent of revenue to seeking care elsewhere. About twenty-three percent have no idea how much money they are losing due to leakage.

The trend has led healthcare leaders to prioritize referral management, with eighty-seven percent saying patient leakage is a significant problem.

What is Patient Leakage?

Patient leakage, also known as patient referral leakage, is when a patient leaves the hospital facility they are receiving treatment from for a competing hospital or health facility. 

In other words, the current healthcare provider is unable to retain the patient.

These situations can be problematic for both patient and the healthcare provider because the patient loses continuity of care, resulting in poorer health outcomes. 

For the hospital or healthcare facility, this can result in loss of revenue and the inability to track patients' progress and administer future care accurately.

Here are seven ways to prevent patient leakage:

1. Examine Past Data to Understand the Referral Trend

As a healthcare administrator, the first step to tackle patient leakage in your facility is going through your past data. Study and analyze your previous referral patterns to help you determine where you are getting it wrong and how to improve. 

Most health institutions rely on EHR (Electronic Health Records) systems to track and study data, but it is not streamlined enough to help you do it effectively.

A reliable referral management software can help you study the data and analyze your patient referral rate. It also keeps you in the know about all patient's visits.

2. Adopt a Data-based Approach to Referrals

The next step is to deploy a fact-based approach to influence your decision-making. It is always better to make decisions from facts and data than from assumptions and hearsay. You can identify the source of leakage with a data-driven approach. 

Additionally, a data-driven approach will ensure efficient patient referral within the hospital network. The result is a better quality of care for the patient and not losing a patient to competitors. 

3. Improved Patient Communication

Another effective way to prevent referral leakage is through communication with patients. It is possible to communicate with patients and their family members via text message to automatically increase engagement and educate patients about in-network referrals.

Also, after patient treatment or discharge, you can send a follow-up text message to the patient to connect them with an in-network provider to book an appointment, helping to improve referral completion rates.

Finally, you can spot and resolve issues that would otherwise impact patient loyalty by sending links to patient satisfaction surveys after every healthcare encounter.

4. Clinician Collaboration

Provide referring physicians with a unified directory that allows them to find any in-network clinician quickly. For instance, use the "cardiologist" search box to search for in-network cardiologists. You can further refine the search by facility or hospital to find the best cardiologist for the patient's needs.

5. Utilize Predictive Modeling to Understand the Impact of Future Referral Patterns

The predictive modeling process will help you understand how changing referral patterns today will influence future referral patterns. Analyzing the impact of these changes on patient flow, care delivery, and coordination with referring providers and payers is imperative.

6. Patient Leakage Should be an Administrative Priority

Patient leakage often slips between the cracks among other priorities at the management level. Top management must address this challenge by driving change and taking the necessary steps to address patient referral leakage as a strategic priority.  

Managing referral networks will help control costs and prove quality as organizations take on more risk. In addition to enabling stakeholders to track and understand referral patterns, they can significantly impact patient health and protect profitability.

How to reduce patient referral leakage?

1. Channels of communication

Develop clear communication channels between physicians, patients, hospital administrative staff etc. This helps in seamless, positive care experience for the patient.

2. Online appointment scheduling

Floatcare helps patients to schedule the appointment easily in the time of emergency.

3. Provider and specialist information and trackable referrals

Create open storage for provider and specialist data. Many physicians refer out-of-network only because they are not aware of your network’s range of specialists.

4. Patient Engagement

Develop patient engagement by creating authentic, relevant, healthcare content, and producing personalized information to patients based on their care expectations.

5. Ongoing Quality Care

Implement ongoing quality care and use expert physicians. If a patient thinks different health practice offers better care for their condition, they can go out of network. Hire qualified physicians with a broad range of specialities for referrals.

6. Physician collaboration

Decreasing referral leakage can also be done by ensuring physicians know all the qualified specialists within their network.

Optimize Patient Referrals to Reduce Patient Leakage With FloatCare

Practical solutions for clinical collaboration and patient engagement can help healthcare networks transform into value-based care providers and reduce patient leakage.

FloatCare connects all necessary providers, automating referral workflows and securing appointment schedules before patients' departure. 

Through our streamlined process, providers can transfer medical records, book appointments, and coordinate care seamlessly.

Schedule a demo today.

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