A survey conducted in late 2014 of Humboldt County’s primary and specialty care providers, office staff and patients suggested a strong desire to see improvements made in the way referrals were handled. Complaints ranged from lost referrals, irrelevant, unclear and insufficient information included in referrals, great delays in scheduling and receiving specialty appointments. As a result of this survey and discussions at a meeting with primary and specialty care clinicians, the Humboldt IPA agreed to facilitate an improvement effort. For more information about the Referral Improvement Project click here.

A group of primary and specialty care practices were brought together. They created and tested the forms and processes below. This new system demonstrated a significant time savings for the offices, elimination of both lost referrals and the need to contact specialty offices regarding the status of referrals. The “Specialty Guidelines” give primary care offices a list of what is needed for a referral based on diagnosis. Clinicians and referral clerks found these guidelines especially helpful.