(Last updated: 3/19/2020)

Hospitals and imaging centers depend on physician referrals for revenue. If you are in one of these businesses, your profitability and growth are tied to positive physician experience in consuming your services. Patient experience counts, too. It can be challenging to keep both physicians and patients happy, but moving to online service order management can smooth out a lot of difficulties that negatively affect these relationships and hence, your business.

Your Two (Three?) Customers

They say the customer is always right. Unfortunately, your life is more complicated than that. You have three customers, each with his or her own way of being “always right.” Referring physicians are your customers because they send you patients for services, though they neither experience nor pay for the service. The patient is the actual customer, but he or she is not paying. The payer, e.g. Medicare, is paying for the service, but doesn’t experience it. In this multi-polar context, it’s a good practice to try to make everyone as satisfied as possible.

Recent studies have shown hospitals are failing to do that, particularly on the patient front. In fact, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI®) Finance, Insurance, and Health Care Report 2018-2019, patients are actually happier with payers than providers. In 2019, the customer satisfaction score for hospitals dropped to 72, a 4 point decrease from 2018. Conversely, satisfaction with payers reached a decade high of 74.

How Online Order Management Works

Online order management can help keep all three of your customers happy. iOrder, for example, delivers a simple, unified order management experience for the referring physician. It enables a hospital or imaging center to maximize reimbursements by reducing coding errors and no-shows. iOrder enables cuts in administrative overhead by tracking service orders more accurately and efficiently than is possible with traditional phone/fax processes. The ordering physician practice has visibility as to when order requests are placed, whether the study or service was conducted, and obtaining the results.  With these capabilities, and others, online order management systems have the potential to improve physician and patient experience.

Improving the Physician Experience…

Referring physicians are individuals, but from a practical perspective, you’re dealing with their administrative staffs. (Oops, a fourth customer who is “always right”!) Assume, in any event, that the better the doctor’s and staff’s experience is in ordering services from your facility, the more likely they will be to refer more patients in the future. That’s what you want. Online order management contributes to this potentiality in the following ways:

  • A more efficient ordering experience—no more phone calls, faxes and frustration over messy communications – full order/results transparency for the referring physician practices.
  • Compliance with qCDSM—the physician needs to comply with emerging decision standards in order to receive reimbursement and meet Appropriate Use Criteria parameters.  
  • iOrder uniquely provides “Guided Intelligence Protocol” (GIP), which offers the referring physician intelligence-based decision support, offering suggestions for not only which study is best but how medications and patient prep should be handled.
  • Automated scheduling, notifications and follow-up
  • A Streamlined billing processes

…And that of the Patient

In our blog post “Creating an Exceptional Patient Experience,” we discussed how important it is to provide patients with a consistently great experience. If the patient isn’t happy with the experience of a service order, the referring physician’s practice is going to hear about it. Then, they will have to handle the problem, whatever it is. Confusion about scheduling and reimbursement are two examples. Physician staffs tend to be overstretched as it is, so anything that cuts down on patient complaints and problem resolution is going to be seen as a plus.

Furthermore, the GIP mechanisms in iOrder prevent mistakes and unnecessary complications in service delivery that can negatively affect patient experience. For instance, a GIP system like iOrder can discover if a patient is allergic to a dying agent to be used in a CT scan. Knowing this in advance helps the facility plan around this problem. As a result, the patient is not delayed nor rescheduled based on such a complication.

iOrder leverages the GIP concept to improve the overall service delivery process. Ask us how we can help you build a profitable, high-growth facility by delivering a better physician and patient experience.