Improving the Referral Process for Ambulatory Care Paitents by Developing a Structured Electronic Referral System


The referral process is the critical link between primary and specialty care for ambulatory care patients and an essential mechanism for ensuring that medical services are coordinated. Prior studies have demonstrated that a breakdown in communication between primary care doctors and specialists can lead to a host of problems, including delayed diagnoses, unnecessary testing, improper medication, and duplication of work. Poor communication also results in pervasive dissatisfaction with the referral process. This project will develop a structured electronic referral system, test it in a hospital clinic, and evaluate the new system's impact on the coordination of patient care, quality of clinical information exchanged, and costs for both providers and patients. If successful, this prototype could eventually be implemented in a variety of health care settings. Partners HealthCare System, Inc., will provide cofunding for this project.

Grant Details

Grantee Organization:
The Brigham and Women's Hospital
Principal Investigator:
Tejal Gandhi, M.D.
Award Amount:
Approval Date:
April 11, 2001

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