Orange County ED increased patient volume 5% through online referrals

By digitizing the inbound referral process, total ED patient visits rose 5% YoY, with online referrals accounting for 80% of the increase.
Community hospital ED
Orange County, CA
This ED wanted to make it easier for referring clinics, like the local urgent cares, to send them their sickest patients.
Competition was fierce for referral partners who disliked the time-consuming ED referral process. Patient info often got lost, leaving staff unprepared for their arrival.
ED visits rose 5% from 2017 to 2018 and ER Passport referrals accounted for 80% of the increase. Many referrals came from clinics that previously never sent patients to this hospital.


The emergency department wanted to strengthen its outreach into the community and build volume. But, in a very competitive Orange County market, they needed to improve their accessibility to potential referring providers given that urgent care and primary care clinics could refer patients to EDs closer to them. While geographic proximity played a factor, many of the local urgent care clinics also considered quality and speed of care that their sickest patients would receive upon arrival to the ED. Unfortunately, calling up the ED to refer patients often involved lengthy phone calls and being put on hold, while sometimes patient info was lost, creating a negative experience for the patient due to the staff’s lack of preparation.


To improve access to care, the emergency department digitized its transfer process for getting referral patients from urgent and primary care clinics.

Remove friction

Lisa Piatek and the leadership team, including the hospital CEO, CNO, and ED nurse director, implemented ER Passport to let urgent and primary care clinics submit a secure, web-based transfer instead of having to call the hospital, get transferred to the ED, wait on hold for a charge nurse, and then verbally give the transfer case information.

Improve the patient experience and strengthen continuum of care

ED leaders implemented a simple workflow using ER Passport’s automated alerting features to make the patient access nurse, triage nurse and charge nurse aware of the incoming patient and prepare for their arrival. When the patient presented, they could have a room ready and greet the patient knowing why the patient came and who sent them.

Close the loop for providers

ER Passport automatically emailed the referring provider the disposition status (admitted, discharged, etc.) for their patients.  This push alert gave them a secure, convenient way to know the outcome, helpful especially for non-affiliated providers who did not have access to the hospital’s EMR.

"ER Passport helped us get patients from clinics that previously did not even send us any patients."
Lisa Piatek | Chief Strategy Officer


Rise in volume
from 2017-2018
80% of volume increase
from online referrals
With a newly streamlined, digital referral process in place, success for this California emergency department was a 5% increase in patient volume from the first half of 2017 to the first half of 2018. 80% of that increase came from patients sent via ER Passport. An especially positive outcome was that the increase in patient volume came from urgent care clinics outside the ED's primary network, including clinics that had not previously sent them patients.
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