For most health systems, keeping provider directories up-to-date is an ongoing issue: provider networks, and information about providers themselves, change constantly. Our recent white paper looks at some of the key areas where accurate, centralized provider data management can boost the health system’s bottom line (from improving marketing operations to optimizing provider networks). But what about the impact to patients entering the system? Inaccurate, incomplete provider data has the power to negatively impact the patient experience—from inaccurate referrals to access to timely care in a convenient location. This post looks at three patient scenarios where inaccurate provider data has the potential to hurt the patient experience:
- Which surgeon is best-suited to perform my shoulder arthroscopy?
A decentralized provider directory makes it all the more challenging to capture providers’ unique clinical skill sets, such as the conditions they treat and procedures they perform. Without visibility into detailed clinical focus areas, a patient in need of a shoulder arthroscopy may receive a referral for an orthopedist who only performs knee replacements. Inaccurate referrals not only hurt provider satisfaction, but can delay a patient’s care and potentially cause them to leave the network.
- The doctor I received a referral for is booked out six months.
Appointment wait times are a growing issue for patients. In fact, appointment wait times have increased 30% since 2014. With inaccurate provider data, health systems struggle to identify clinical gaps in their network, and often lack visibility into provider availability. This results in patients waiting weeks—if not months—to see providers, while other providers have unused capacity in their schedules. And since patients view availability as one of the key factors in selecting a provider, long wait times may increase the likelihood that patients will seek care elsewhere to get an appointment sooner.
- The call center agent I spoke to couldn’t find the right specialist for my insurance.
With provider information changing so frequently, including insurances accepted, a decentralized provider directory makes it extremely difficult for health system representatives to take into account many of the key logistical requirements patients have when selecting a provider. And with so many patients performing their own research online, health systems are vulnerable to patients accessing this information from competitors, causing them to book elsewhere.
When health systems invest in a centralized provider directory, it becomes all the more easier to keep data accurate over time and capture rich information that improves patient-provider matching. The result? Higher satisfaction for patients and greater long-term patient retention for health systems.
Ready to take action on provider data to enhance the patient experience? Download our white paper for 5 best practices for effective provider data management.