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    How ODs can ease the pain of patient referrals


    Best communication practices

    Dr. Whitley says both the referring OD and the referred physician must have clear and consistent communication.

    “Communication is a two-way street,” he says.

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    Among the multitude of channels through which healthcare professionals can communicate, several channels may be necessary no matter what problems the patient may face. With communication being a primary challenge for referrals, any information is helpful.

    “Just send something,” he says.

    Dr. Whitley first noted referral forms, including data sent through electronic medical records. Other forms of communication include pertinent patient notes, previous post-ops, and HIPAA-compliant emails and texts. Above all, clarity should be the goal with each communication, he says.

    Education and consistent communication are key

    ODs must set the stage for a quality patient experience. This begins with educating patients and providing them with all available options. Doing so ensures patients are informed about their healthcare options when, and if, their information needs to be shared across a referral network of healthcare specialists.

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    “We know that successful co-management is the result of continuous communication,” he says.

    Dr. Whitley says that this education is a critical part of co-management—along with consistent channels of communication that keep providers informed.


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    Optometry Times A/V