An electronic referral and consultation system at Zuckerberg San Francisco General has been shown to improve communication between referring and specialty providers, replacing an inefficient paper-based approach.

According to a study published in the August issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, the infrastructure of specialty referral systems in primary care is “deeply flawed” and paper referral syste “unreliable, wait times can be long, and information flow is limited.” As a result, its authors assert that there is the potential for “safety problems leading to missed and delayed diagnoses.”

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