If you want something done well, do it yourself. These words rang true for Giannie Castellanos, OD, before she co-founded The Chiasm, an online platform that allows providers to refer patients, receive referrals and track patients’ progress through their referrals. She first saw the problem in 2012 when she was a rotating OD who would float between offices. She found doctors and patients alike to be frustrated by the current referring system; referrals get lost, patients don’t get called and relationships are broken. “My patients would come back very frustrated that they never heard back from the ophthalmologist, and I was the first person to blame,” she says. “I thought, ‘There has to be a better system than faxing.’” Dr. Castellanos paired up with a software developer, and together they created The Chiasm.
The software allows providers to search by very specific qualifications to find the right referral for their patient. “You have a patient and need to send him or her to a specialist, but who takes that patient’s insurance?” she says. “You can search for a specialist; if someone’s a cornea specialist, [for example] or what age patients they will see.” This new and efficient method has made the process smoother for everyone. “It streamlines the search for the right doctor, eases the referral to that doctor and allows us to communicate and manage that referral,” she says. “We need to make things simpler for us.”
KEEP THEM COMING BACK
Dr. Castellanos and her partners in The Chiasm are currently building the network aspect of the database, and within the next three months she hopes that the software will have national coverage. She also hopes to integrate with electronic medical records systems eventually. While the process has made a major difference in Dr. Castellanos’ day-to-day referrals, she expects it to be awhile before she sees a profitable return on her investment. She is not disheartened, though. “My main goal was getting our patient back, reducing our liability and getting our patient to the right person,” she says. When it comes to monetizing the software, the doctors who want to receive referrals will pay and show up higher on the results. The first level of plan allows the subscribing doctors to receive, refer and coordinate the patient. The next level allows them to receive, plan, coordinate and network with other doctors. To send a referral to another doctor is free.
Benefits of The Chiasm include the following:
- Tracking patients
- Retaining patients
- Increasing referrals
- Co-managing opportunities
- Advertising the practice to referring physicians
- Vendor marketplace with discounts
“Anyone who has an account—free or paid—can access coupons and specials,” she says.
NEED TO KNOW
“Many practitioners don’t realize how important managing referrals is to a practice. Doctors can take this opportunity to foster these relationships.” She notes the networking and personal business growth aspect that come with the world of referrals, as well, stating that doctors may start receiving new referrals as a result. “We send patients to ophthalmologists all the time. I want them to send patients to us, too,” she says. “When you build relationships with new doctors, you get a new referral stream. You can take time to connect and market yourself to a new patient. You’re opening a door to a new patient base.” Dr. Castellanos encourages ODs to make the most of their referrals and not let any slip through the cracks. “If you don’t have a tracking mechanism, there is referral leakage that costs dollars. You lose that relationship.”
Dr. Castellanos’ goal is to keep the ODs in mind and central in the referral patterns as The Chiasm grows and evolves.
Those interested in The Chiasm can learn more and subscribe at thechiasm.com, follow the social media accounts and sign up for newsletters. The Chiasm offers a free plan that includes tracking the number of referrals sent, a referral track, referrals reports and vendor discounts. More robust plans are available for a monthly fee and feature more functionalities and directory listings.