Hill Physicians Medical Group and MMC use RelayHealth’s referral management service

Hill Physicians Medical Group, one of the nation’s largest independent physician associations (IPAs) serving Northern California, and New York-based Montefiore Medical Center are using RelayHealth’s referral management service to facilitate secure health information exchange between primary care providers (PCP) and physician specialists. The result for both organizations is improved care team collaboration, patient satisfaction and specialty treatment prioritization.

RelayHealth’s referral management service transmits the necessary forms, patients’ personal health records, medical reports and other electronic files to other physicians on its network as a more reliable alternative to faxing, photocopying and filing paper documents.

RelayHealth and Hill Physicians co-developed the referral management service to support their 3,000 primary care, specialists and allied care providers who serve nearly 300,000 patients. Hill Physicians launched its “Closing the Loop” initiative to sign up specialists to report findings, diagnoses and treatment plans to the referring physicians in addition to receiving referrals electronically. The IPA is one of RelayHealth’s largest provider networks with approximately 2,000 doctors enrolled. Practice staff, along with physicians, transmit nearly 15,000 referral messages monthly.

Pediatrician Thomas Long, M.D., chief medical officer of Hill Physicians and a practice founder of San Ramon Valley Primary Care Medical Group in San Ramon, Calif., recalled a young patient whose authorization to see a dermatologist had expired and his Accutane medication was due for renewal. “The child clearly needed to be seen,” he recalled. “Upon his arrival at the dermatologist’s office, the specialist requested authorization to see him and we did that in a flash online through RelayHealth. The referral was clinically necessary for medication management authorization.”

Montefiore Medical Center (MMC), an academic health system that includes four New York hospitals and a 25-location primary care network serving the Bronx and Westchester County, launched the referral management service with the help of The Care Management Company™ of Montefiore. The Care Management Company, which supports 180,000 members through its payor contracts, began by deploying service in the behavioral health unit, University Behavioral Associates (UBA). Through 147 credentialed mental health providers (psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers) UBA is responsible for providing support to Montefiore patients who are in need of behavioral health or chemical dependency services. Its goal is to ensure that all members have timely and easy access to services and to collaborate with Montefiore providers to maximize resources, improve patient care and manage utilization.

Using RelayHealth, UBA has achieved more efficient referral processing as well as colleague-to-colleague messaging to communicate their patients’ chronic, disease management and behavioral care results to case managers, clinical social workers and primary care providers affiliated with Montefiore. In addition, RelayHealth has enabled direct online communication and task automation with health insurers.

According to Wali Mohammad, M.D., a psychiatrist with Montefiore, “RelayHealth has greatly improved my communication with UBA clinicians. I am sending and receiving clinical information on patients much faster and have found the online service extremely helpful in sending referral notes directly to Montefiore’s primary care physicians. I have received positive feedback from my colleagues and look forward to more PCPs being onboard with RelayHealth.”

A study, funded by the National Institute on Aging and published in the March/April issue of Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, found that consultant (specialist) recommendations were implemented 30 percent more often by referring providers when there was electronic facilitation of recommendations.

“Hill Physicians and Montefiore Medical Center’s UBA prove that secure exchange of patient information is possible among community physicians,” said Jim Bodenbender, president of RelayHealth’s Consumer and Provider Solutions. “They clearly illustrate the positive impact that connectivity and health information exchange has on thousands of doctors proactively communicating critical data with colleagues and whose patients — the ultimate beneficiaries — are getting better care.”


Hill Physicians Medical Group


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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