Mount Sinai goes for faster referrals

'Effective referrals are a foundation of ensuring high quality care across patient populations'
By Bernie Monegain
10:44 AM
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Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai Health System -- with its seven hospital campuses, medical school and extensive ambulatory care network -- is building a new referral system for its care providers.

With medical practices across the Mount Sinai Health System referring hundreds of thousands of patients each year, the need for an intelligent referral operating system is clear, Mount Sinai officials said in a news release, announcing the initiative.

The health system tapped Boston-based software company par8o for help creating the new referral structure. Par8o’s platform is built on algorithms that match a patient to the right resource at the right time, enabling followup that is appropriate, fast and user friendly. Beyond referrals, the effort is meant to help patients navigate the Health System.

[See also: Mount Sinai taps InterSystems for interoperability help.]

Effective referrals matter, Mount Sinai officials point out, because patients with chronic heart failure or diabetes, for instance, may have more than one physician caring for them, and most primary physicians coordinate with many other care providers. Referrals must happen quickly and based on the urgency of each patient’s need, with health history and insurance information arriving securely ahead of patient appointments as needed.

"Major healthcare systems must care for patients in referral networks that shift people smoothly back and forth between well and sick care, and that track their progress at all times," Jeremy Boal, MD, chief medical officer at Mount Sinai Health System, said in a statement. "Effective referrals are a foundation of ensuring high quality care across patient populations, and this new operating system will confirm that every referred patient is seen, and seen quickly."

The first phase will deploy par8o’s platform in medical practices that are part of the Beth Israel Medical Group within the Mount Sinai Health System, including practices that both send and receive referrals. Nearly 2,500 care providers are expected to use the system to start, along with roughly the same number of scheduling and support staff.

The platform will be integrated into practice workflows through a desktop application and a secure web platform that helps systems talk to each other. The second phase of par8o’s deployment will expand to include all hospital-based, affiliated, network, ambulatory site and interested voluntary providers across the health system.

[See also: Mount Sinai to digitize glass slides.]

Mount Sinai officials said they chose par8o’s platform because it is easy to use, can be integrated into existing systems, and can be customized for each practice. Par8o’s software also enables practices to search the health system for appropriate providers when the time comes to refer a patient.

"We look forward to designing and deploying customized workflows that meet the needs of each practice, offering a seamless experience as patients navigate the healthcare system and transforming the way that care is delivered at Mount Sinai," Daniel Palestrant, MD, founder and CEO of par8o, said in a news release.