Practice Fusion allows you to communicate with providers outside of your practice quickly and securely. Sending a referral using Direct Messaging allows for the exchange of patient health information across different EHR networks. Send referrals instantly to any provider, including multiple types of attachments:
- Encounter notes: Signed or unsigned encounters of any note type (SOAP or simple)
- Lab results: Results may be signed or unsigned and may contain structured and/or unstructured data
- Imaging results: Results may be signed or unsigned and must contain structured data, i.e. reports only, not images
- Documents: Signed or unsigned with any assigned document type
- Referral Note document: Clinical documents formatted to the Consolidated Clinical Data Architecture (CCDA) Referral Note document template may be generated and attached directly within the referral workflow. These documents cannot be sent to recipients via fax, as the document is in a digital XML format; they must be sent electronically. If you are sending a referral by fax, Referral Note documents will need to be printed and faxed separately. For details on what data is included in a Referral Note document, please refer to Table 1 at the bottom of the page.
- Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs): Clinical documents formatted to CCDA standards may be generated from the patient chart by following the guidelines here. A CCD cannot be sent to recipients via fax, as the document is in a digital XML format. If you are sending a referral by fax, CCDs will need to be printed and faxed separately. For details on what data is included in a CCD, please click here and refer to FAQ #2.
Follow the steps below to send a referral using Direct messaging in Practice Fusion:
1. Be provisioned a Direct address through Practice Fusion. For complete details on how to obtain a Direct account, please review the instructions here.
2. Reach out to your referral recipient Because the referral recipient will be using another certified EHR system, you must contact them directly to obtain their Direct address. You may then add your recipient as a new connection in your Directory and add their Direct address within their contact information.
3. Prepare any documents that will be sent with the referral Referrals cannot be saved as drafts, so if you plan to include specific documents in the referral, it’s helpful to prepare those documents in advance. Ensure that any necessary documents and lab results have been associated with the patient and that any encounter notes you plan to attach have been reviewed. Signed or unsigned encounters may be attached to referrals, and you can also generate any necessary Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs). For additional information, please see: How do I add attachments to referral letters?
4. Add a new referral
Within the patient's chart, click the Actions dropdown in the upper right corner and select Add referral.
Alternatively, open the patient encounter and scroll to the Referral section, then click Add.
5. Select your recipient(s)
Click into the Recipient field and the My Connections pane will open to the left displaying your contacts. Select your Direct contact from your list of connections. If your Direct Message recipient is not currently in your My Connections list, click the (+) icon to add them as contact. As long as you’ve successfully been provisioned a Direct account, you’ll see a Direct address field. Add your colleague’s address to the Direct address field. (Note: If you do not have a Direct address, this field will not exist. In that case, you’ll need to request a Direct account). Once you have added your new contact, you will be able to select that contact from the My Connections list.
6. Select a specialty Select the referral recipient’s specialty. You may also use the optional On Behalf Of field to indicate if you are sending the referral on behalf of a provider in your practice.
7. Complete the referral message Click into the Referral For field to compose your referral. You may free-type your referral message or use a template. Referral templates will appear on the left -- you can use one of Practice Fusion’s general templates or Add a folder to create a brand new template, then add template line items as desired. For more information, please see: How do I create referral templates?
8. Add attachments Select any attachments you would like to send. Click your mouse into the Attachments field to see the attachable documents on the left. A complete list of attachable documents may be found at the top of this page.
Clinical documents formatted to the Consolidated Clinical Data Architecture (CCDA) standard are XML files that contain structured and unstructured patient data and can be formatted according to various document templates, such as the Referral Note document template. If you are choosing to generate a CCDA document formatted using the Referral Note document template, select the Generate referral note option at the bottom of the attachments pane.
For more detailed instructions on adding attachments to your referrals, please click here.
9. Review and send
Once you’ve confirmed your referral is complete, you can click Preview to review the full referral. When you’re ready, click Send to send the referral.
How do I retrieve a Direct message from another provider? Direct messages can be retrieved within your Messages inbox.
How do I review referral letters? You can review all referrals sent for a patient in their Timeline by filtering to show Referrals. In the Timeline, you can review the time and date the referral was sent to each recipient, how the recipient received the referral, and confirm the referral status.
Table 1. Data included in each section of a Referral Note document
Referral Note document section name
Data elements included in section
Patient details & demographics
Provider name & contact information
Assessment & Plan
Mental (Cognitive) status