Closing the Loop on Patient Referrals in Health Care

November 29, 2017

Patient referrals are getting a closer look because the process is not as thorough or efficient as it should be, say experts studying the matter, which can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment and other lapses in patient safety.

Today the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) released guidelines to help standardize the ways in which primary care practitioners activate referrals to specialists and then keep track of the information over time. Closing the Loop: A Guide to Safer Ambulatory Referrals in the EHR Era is the work of an expert panel convened to examine current obstacles to a high-quality, safe referral process and offer improvement strategies for clinicians, organizations, and electronic health record (EHR) vendors to pursue.

The work was supported by a grant from CRICO/Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions and initiated by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), which merged with IHI in May 2017.

Read the full press release.

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