What is an eReferral?

An eReferral is discrete patient data that is exchanged electronically between systems. eReferrals allow for the timely and secure electronic exchange of clinical healthcare data between different EHRs. The interoperability between all certified EHRs through eReferrals promotes Health Information Exchange and enables providers to optimize care coordination and transitions of care in real time. The vast majority of all provider organizations in the US are enabled for eReferrals and capable of exchanging information on the national Direct Network. 

Advantages of Using eReferrals

eReferral messaging is built into every ONC Certified Health IT EHR (2014, 2015) edition. Thus, the technology to send, receive, and review the referral along with a host of supporting documentation is already existing as per federally mandated requirements.

eReferral usage provides seamless communication between providers. As a result, eReferral utilization and management is a key change tactic to improve the comprehensiveness and coordination of patient care.

eReferrals are considered a “green” solution due to the fact that they are purely electronic. Thus, they eliminate the need for the storage, use and purchase of paper.

Due to semantic interoperability, eReferrals directly import structured data from the referral into the patient chart without the need to scan, view, or transcribe the information into a patient’s chart. As a result, provider burden, transcription errors and costs of duplicate testing all decrease.

The difference in workflow, time, energy, and money is substantial!

Who uses eReferrals?

We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. ONC recently announced in August (2019) that eReferrals surpassed the 1 billion mark for message exchange! More and more healthcare organizations, independent offices, and technology centric practices are utilizing eReferral messaging as their principal referral management tool. eReferrals is not a new concept. It is a standard enhancement to your existing EHR workflow. Adoption is expected to continue to grow as eReferrals becomes the preferred standard for communication between providers. 

eReferrals contribute to CMS’ and ONC’s push to eliminate faxing by 2020.