In August 2015, Lancaster General Health (LG Health) proudly joined the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
As a first step in what promises to be an exciting partnership, members of our team are collaborating with representatives from LG Health to evaluate the referral process between the two health systems and identify areas for improvement.
This spring, we observed and interviewed providers, schedulers, and patients at LG Health and Penn Medicine to identify best practices and challenges associated with the current referral process.
Based on our observations, we identified five areas an intervention should address: process variation, wait times, travel, care coordination and communication.
To test our assumption that reducing barriers across the five areas will improve patient and provider satisfaction, we are piloting a concierge referral line.
The referral line offers coordinated appointment scheduling, financial support and travel assistance, and streamlines communication by acting as a single point of contact for referring providers and patients.
Although the pilot is still underway, the early results are promising.
Our long-term goal is to implement and scale interventions that improve access to specialists and ensure a positive user experience for both patients and providers.
In addition, we ‘re hopeful that the lessons learned during this process will enable us to improve the experience for all referrals to Penn Medicine- not only those from LG Health.