How do I send a referral?

Note: Access to the EHR features described in this article may differ for practices who have already purchased a Practice Fusion EHR subscription plan. Please contact Practice Fusion Customer Service for additional information.

Practice Fusion allows you to communicate with providers outside of your practice quickly and securely to streamline care coordination and transitions of care. 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.
From your Practice Fusion account, you may send referrals to users who have a Practice Fusion account, have a Direct address, or who are outside of the Practice Fusion network. Your full peer network can access electronic referrals, regardless of their EHR system, using our HIPAA compliant eReferral retrieval portal.

Follow the steps below to send a referral using Practice Fusion:

1. Set up your list of provider contacts in your Directory For detailed instructions on adding contacts to your Directory, please see How do I add a new contact to my Directory?

2. 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?

3. 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.

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4. Select your recipient(s) Within the referral window, first select one or more recipients from your Directory connections list. You can use the Search your connections field and/or sort your connections by specialty or alphabetically, using the blue links. For each contact, you’ll see how your referral will be received by the recipient: By eFax, Direct message, or via the Messages inbox in their Practice Fusion account.

My_connections_referralpng

Please note: The Send by fax checkbox will be checked for all referrals by default. If you are sending a referral electronically and do not want to send an additional faxed copy of the referral, un-check this box.

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5. 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.

6. 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 -- 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?

Referral_templatepng

7. Add attachments
Select any attachments you would like to send. Click 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.

8. 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 to all recipients.

Receiving referral letters If you send a referral to another provider in the Practice Fusion network who does not have a Direct address, the referral will be found in the recipient's Messages inbox.

If the recipient is not in the Practice Fusion network and they do not have a Direct address entered as part of their contact information, they will receive the referral by fax. If you have entered the recipient’s email address, they will also receive an email with instructions on how to securely retrieve the referral.

Note: Certain attachments, such as clinical documents, cannot be viewed in the referral preview or sent and received by fax. If you have included an attachment that cannot be sent by fax, this will be noted at the bottom of the faxed referral letter. In these instances, you will need to print and manually fax them separately. For more information, please see: How do I add attachments to referral letters?

Reviewing 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.

Referral_status_timelinepngTable 1. Data included in each section of a Referral Note document

Referral Note document section name

Data elements included in section

Patient details & demographics

  • Patient name
  • Sex
  • Date of birth
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Preferred language
  • Contact information (patient address & phone number)

Provider name & contact information

  • Referring provider’s name
  • Referring provider’s office contact information

Social history

  • Current smoking status
  • Birth sex

Problem list

  • Diagnoses with a start date assigned and no end date
  • Diagnoses associated with the selected signed encounter (if any)

Medications

  • Medications with a start date assigned
  • Medications associated with the selected signed encounter (if any)

Allergies

  • All drug allergies (food and environmental allergies not included)

Immunizations

  • Administered and historical immunizations

Results (Labs)

  • Signed lab results that have been entered in the patient chart

Vital signs

  • Vital signs associated with the selected signed encounter

Assessment & Plan

  • Plan for the selected signed encounter, if data is recorded
  • Care plan for the selected signed encounter, if data is recorded
  • Medication(s) attached to the selected signed encounter
  • Addendum(s) for the selected signed encounter, if data is recorded
  • Future lab & imaging orders attached to the selected signed encounter
  • Future appointments scheduled for after the date of Referral Note document generation

Referrals

  • All ordered referrals, including recipient name, contact information and reason for referral

Procedures

  • Coded procedures, assessments and screenings entered in the Screenings/Interventions/Assessments section of the selected signed encounter

Care team

  • Care team members as entered in the Profile section of the patient chart (name only)

Encounter

  • Selected signed encounter, including date of service, facility location, and any encounter diagnoses

Medical equipment

  • All Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs) for patient’s implantable devices (if any)

Functional status

  • Functional status as entered in the Observations section of the selected signed encounter (if any)

Mental (Cognitive) status

  • Cognitive status as entered in the Observations section of the selected signed encounter (if any)

Goals

  • All active goals

Health concerns

  • All free-text health concerns
  • Health concerns associated with an allergy or diagnosis

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