Not long ago, hundreds of New Yorkers would walk into an HHC hospital seeking specialty services with little more than a verbal recommendation from their private physician. Thanks to a new computerized information exchange, more than 2,500 community-based providers can now link to the public hospitals to care for the same patients and make referrals electronically to improve the coordination, quality and continuity of healthcare for New Yorkers.
"By creating a formal channel of communication between physicians we have established an accountable, standard and very efficient process for coordinating care for our shared patients. The number of walk-ins are down to 19% from 39% last year. We have reduced the time it takes to fully process a referral from 3.5 days to 1.3 days. And can turn around a consultation visit report to the referring doctor within two days after the patient visit," said Irene Kaufman, HHC Senior Assistant Vice President for Medical and Professional Affairs.
The electronic link -- part of the HHC Connectx physician services program -- allows community doctors a convenient, efficient way to make a referral to a service they do not offer. The automated system replaces the use of cumbersome paper documents and accurately tracks every patient who is directed to HHC specialty services like radiology, gastroenterology, orthopedics, dermatology, and ear, nose, throat specialties.
"With HHC Connectx, we strengthen our partnership with community physicians, give them access to many of the benefits of our large organization, and at the same time build a more integrated healthcare delivery system for New Yorkers," said HHC President Alan D. Aviles.
Private healthcare providers have made more than 168,000 referrals since the system was launched in May 2008 as part the HHC Connectx physician membership program. HHC invested $2.5 million to develop the computer application and train community physicians and their staff.
"HHC Connectx is the link between my office and Kings County Hospital Center," said Dr. Anatole Barkan, a physician at Be Well Primary Health Care Center, LLC, a community physician practice in central Brooklyn. "Our Provider Relations Specialist at Kings County really knows me, my staff and my patients. It makes us feel like we are part of a single medical team."
The HHC Connectx program offers member physicians and their staff efficient and coordinated access to HHC facilities. Membership benefits include:
- An easy-to-use web-based tool for referral management and patient tracking
- 24/7 online access to diagnostic test results and consultation reports
- Direct access to HHC specialty care centers of excellence, like the Queens Hospital Cancer Center, Jacobi Hospital Burn Center, Harlem Hospital Stroke Center and Kings County Hospital Parkinson's Disease Center
- A single contact to help navigate and simplify the patient experience
- Medical education opportunities
- Notifications when patients miss an appointment with HHC specialists.