Digging Deep to Learn the ‘Why’ of Leakage

July 1, 2014

by Nancy Vessell

Nancy Vessell profile picThe key to spotting and stemming leakage of physician referrals at Texas Health Resources (THR) doesn’t hinge on expensive data collection.

Certainly, data showing where patients are going in the large north Texas market is helpful to this health system of 25 hospitals and 5,500 affiliated physicians. But the data only serves to support its most important tool: Questions.

THR’s business growth specialists are armed with lists of questions, each list tailored to the physician they visit, to help them find out why physicians send patients to the hospitals and specialists they do.

“We have a dedicated team out in the field, and their goal is to understand referral patterns in their market,” says Tricia Anderson, director of business development for the Arlington-based health system. “They’re digging deeper into the whole patient journey to understand where leakage is occurring. It’s about asking the right questions to the physicians and not just understanding where their referrals are going, but why.”

She calls it “minimizing leakage and maximizing keepage.” That’s becoming increasingly important in a market where physicians have many choices of specialists and facilities, expanded by freestanding surgery centers and emergency rooms.

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