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Improving the Outpatient Referral Process With Electronic Communications

This study has been completed.
The Commonwealth Fund
Information provided by:
Brigham and Women's Hospital Identifier:
First received: August 9, 2005
Last updated: April 23, 2007
Last verified: April 2007
An electronic referral application will be developed and integrated into the existing outpatient information system. The primary goal of this software is to improve the quality and coordination of patient care by increasing physician-to-physician communication. The investigators anticipate that improved communications will also enhance physician and patient satisfaction and provide cost savings. These outcomes will be formally evaluated following implementation of the application.

Condition Intervention
Communication Interprofessional Relations Behavioral: Electronic referral system

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Official Title: Improving the Outpatient Referral Process With Electronic Communications

Further study details as provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Percentage of referral requests with complete information
  • Percentage of referrals with timely information exchanged

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Physician satisfaction
  • Patient satisfaction

Estimated Enrollment: 200
Study Start Date: November 2005
Estimated Study Completion Date: March 2007
Detailed Description:
A trial will be performed to test and quantify the benefits of electronic referrals. Primary care physicians (PCPs) from 2 community-based clinics will be recruited for enrollment. The control group will initiate referrals using the pre-existing paper forms; physician-to-physician communication can occur by e-mail, phone, or mail at the discretion of the referring physician as is currently the standard. Physicians randomized to the intervention arm will be asked to use the electronic application for every referral during the study period. For 6 months, every new referral initiated within the study groups will be assessed for the completeness of patient information and timing of feedback to the referring physician via physician surveys. In addition, a subgroup of patients in the control and intervention arms will be surveyed to assess the impact of the intervention on patient satisfaction with the referral process.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Any referral initiated by a PCP at the study sites for a patient to go to a specialist for the first time

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Referrals for repeat specialist visits or referrals not initiated by a PCP
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00129064

United States, Massachusetts
Brigham and Women's
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02115
Sponsors and Collaborators
Brigham and Women's Hospital
The Commonwealth Fund
Principal Investigator: Tejal K Gandhi, MD Brigham and Women's Hospital
  More Information Identifier: NCT00129064     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2004-P-000710
Study First Received: August 9, 2005
Last Updated: April 23, 2007

Keywords provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital:
Quality of care
Ambulatory care
Electronic medical record
Referral communication processed this record on September 19, 2017