eReferral Case Study

The web based eReferral application saves the county tens of thousands of dollars each year while shaving hours off of referral processing time.


The Referral center at HCA (Health Care Agency of Ventura) was processing 300 plus fax pages a day manually for patient referrals sent in by physicians in the County of Ventura's physician network. Due to the large number of daily faxes, the workload became unmanageable which resulted in increased referral processing time. Another side effect of manually processing was the difficulty in getting referral status information on a particular referral. This was problematic on both sides, for the clinics and the referral center.

Buena Digital documented the existing labor-intensive work-flow and with the help of the end users, converted it to a new web-based application. The key component to tracking faxed documents was to embed a barcode to the fax coversheet. This allows proper routing and tracking of documents that are sent in by clinics and physicians. Research was conducted to analyze the best type of barcode to use in a fax and found that the datamatrix barcode to be the most robust and durable barcode to use for this type of application. 

Buena Digital worked with the County's IT department and utilized their new Unified Fax Solution to bring it all together. Referrals are input via the website and assigned to an available nurse. Supporting documentation is sent in with the proper fax cover sheet and then processed by the Unified Fax Solution once received. A windows service runs every 5 minutes that picks up the newly received faxes and saves the fax documents to the appropriate referral. If the Windows service has any problems reading the barcode or if the barcode is missing the fax gets sent to a queue for review. 

Technologies used: ASP.NET, jQuery, SQL Server, Windows Service, DataMatrix barcoding.

Time to process a referral at the referral center has dropped from an average of 3 hours to 20 minutes. Savings of over 10k/year on printer related costs and tens of thousands of dollars saved in labor costs related to processing of the referrals has been fully realized. Custom reports were created to allow management to track performance of various clinics and specialties.  Clinics and physicians can now easily and quickly find out the status of a patient's referral at anytime.

Healthcare, Government