It is hard to top Joel Vengco's work as a remarkable testimony of outcomes. Boston Medical Center, the primary care provider and safety net for Boston's inner city, also works with 15 community health centers that refer patients to BMC.Vengco's first project at BMC two years ago was to use a federal grant to improve collaboration among physicians and partner facilities with a community order entry and referral system."The problem was that CHC physicians would refer a patient to be seen at BMC but only 30 percent of those orders actually got scheduled," Vengco told us. "That means 70 percent of referrals were left on a fax machine or voicemail." Of those 30 percent, 25 to 30 percent were no-shows, leaving BMC with no way to reschedule or help them another way.Today, referring physicians exchange patient and scheduling data electronically with BMC specialists to coordinate appointments and exchange notes so the specialist knows when and why patients arrive. It has ended redundant testing and treatments. When the specialist is done with a patient, the original provider now knows what was done and what needs follow-up care.
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