Understanding the patient referral process and experience of local community health centres

The Need

In 2018, working in partnership with the NHS, a leading healthcare brand launched its first Community Healthcare centre providing access to infusion therapies, including subcutaneous and IM therapies, screening, phlebotomy and health checks. However, referral levels to the service were below projected expectations, requiring research into the patient journey and referral process.

Our Approach

To gain a holistic view of the referral process and end-to-end patient journey we conducted face-to-face in-depth interviews (IDIs) with current patients to explore their experience, focusing on their involvement in the decision-making process, their initial impressions and their experiences with the service. This was combined with in-depth telephone interviews among Healthcare Professionals responsible for referring patients to the service to understand any barriers that may impede the referral process.

The Outcome

As well as providing a clear map of the patient journey, the research highlighted the disconnect between low pre-treatment expectations and the excellent level of care received by patients who took up the service, and a potential knowledge gap amongst the Healthcare professionals responsible for referrals. Key areas of improvement included revising the communication materials offered to patients prior to attendance to provide greater reassurance and the need to digitalise referral reminders.

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