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Improving the Outpatient Referral Process With Electronic Communications

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00129064
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 11, 2005
Last Update Posted : April 24, 2007
The Commonwealth Fund
Information provided by:
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Brief Summary:
An electronic referral application will be developed and integrated into the existing outpatient information system. The primary goal of this software is to improve the quality and coordination of patient care by increasing physician-to-physician communication. The investigators anticipate that improved communications will also enhance physician and patient satisfaction and provide cost savings. These outcomes will be formally evaluated following implementation of the application.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Communication Interprofessional Relations Behavioral: Electronic referral system Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
A trial will be performed to test and quantify the benefits of electronic referrals. Primary care physicians (PCPs) from 2 community-based clinics will be recruited for enrollment. The control group will initiate referrals using the pre-existing paper forms; physician-to-physician communication can occur by e-mail, phone, or mail at the discretion of the referring physician as is currently the standard. Physicians randomized to the intervention arm will be asked to use the electronic application for every referral during the study period. For 6 months, every new referral initiated within the study groups will be assessed for the completeness of patient information and timing of feedback to the referring physician via physician surveys. In addition, a subgroup of patients in the control and intervention arms will be surveyed to assess the impact of the intervention on patient satisfaction with the referral process.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Enrollment : 200 participants
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Official Title: Improving the Outpatient Referral Process With Electronic Communications
Study Start Date : November 2005
Study Completion Date : March 2007

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Percentage of referral requests with complete information
  2. Percentage of referrals with timely information exchanged

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Physician satisfaction
  2. Patient satisfaction

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Any referral initiated by a PCP at the study sites for a patient to go to a specialist for the first time

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Referrals for repeat specialist visits or referrals not initiated by a PCP

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00129064

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United States, Massachusetts
Brigham and Women's
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02115
Sponsors and Collaborators
Brigham and Women's Hospital
The Commonwealth Fund
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Principal Investigator: Tejal K Gandhi, MD Brigham and Women's Hospital

Layout table for additonal information Identifier: NCT00129064    
Other Study ID Numbers: 2004-P-000710
First Posted: August 11, 2005    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: April 24, 2007
Last Verified: April 2007
Keywords provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital:
Quality of care
Ambulatory care
Electronic medical record
Referral communication