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HSR&D Investigators Help Develop Report on Improving the Patient Referral Process

November 30, 2017


Dr. Hardeep Singh Dr. Hardeep Singh

More than 100 million specialist referrals are requested in the U.S. each year in the ambulatory setting, yet only half of these are completed. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recently released a Report, "Closing the Loop, A Guide to Safer Ambulatory Referrals in the EHR Era," that provides recommendations to help standardize the ways in which primary care practitioners activate referrals to specialists, and then keep track of the information over time. The Report identifies nine key steps that need to be considered when developing a closed-loop referral process that takes the primary care physician from ordering the patient referral through communicating the plan to the patient and family.

This Report was prepared by a panel of experts and was co-chaired by Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, chief of the Health Policy and Informatics Program at HSR&D’s Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt). Dr. Singh is an expert in the use of electronic patient records in healthcare, particularly as it pertains to implementation and patient safety. His research also focuses on understanding and reducing diagnostic errors in the ambulatory care setting, including those involving missed and delayed diagnoses. The Report also cites work done by several other IQuESt investigators, including:  Sylvia Hysong, PhD, Hashem El-Serag, MD, MPH, Daniel Murphy, MD, MBA, Traber Giardina, PhD, and Ashley Meyer, PhD.

*Watch Dr. Singh discuss patient safety and VA’s electronic health record in a brief video here.