Ingenuity strikes at any given moment. The spark of creativity and stroke of genius isn’t limited to board rooms and think tanks. Indeed, the United States Patient Referral Network (USPRN) was born between its founding partners on a Southwest flight last year. The idea and concept spawned from a serious need to empower patient choice in the healthcare field.
Jacqueline Kneubuhl, CEO and Founder of USPRN, has worked in sales since she was 18-years-old. While Kneubuhl started in the hospitality industry she quickly transitioned into healthcare sales and marketing. After a successful seven year run with the startup Cima Hospice Kneubuhl resigned in October 2014 as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Utilizing the knowledge and lessons obtained from her career, Kneubuhl and her partners knew it was time to address other critical issues in the healthcare sector.
“I wanted to create a tool that put the power of patient choice back in the patient’s hand and allowed them to have an option in service providers without being railroaded into one service line,” Kneubuhl says speaking on USPRN’s founding concept. The tool had to be simple and more importantly a part of the technology sector.
Kneubuhl and her partners identified a number major problems in the physician-hospital referral process that exists in San Antonio and the nation at large. Currently the referral process can take a physician and staff up to five hours to complete. The problem, Kneubuhl explains, is that, “Physician groups have no real-time communication with vendors to ensure that referrals are received and delivered in a timely manner.” Though by using USPRN’s smart phone app the initial process is cut down to less than a minute.
“I wanted to create a tool that put the power of patient choice back in the patient’s hand”– Jacqueline Kneubuhl, CEO and Founder of USPRN
Readmissions, revocations, and even death can occur if a patient does not receive services or necessary equipment in a timely manner. Naturally, time is a crucial component with many of these patients and without the accountability factor people can get lost in the system. USPRN is the remedy to the malady of lengthy referral times offering a much needed tool to provide quality care for all parties concerned.
Keeping patient care at the forefront, USPRN enhances healthcare vendors and patients’ communication. The network of healthcare vendors is carefully selected. Vendors are vetted before they are accepted into the network, they undergo quarterly reviews by USPRN to ensure compliance with all standards and policies and must be able to meet Medicare compliance requirements before. Coupled with this USPRN has integrated a 30-minute timer into their referral software.
Vendors must respond to patient or primary healthcare providers’ referral within the 30 minute time frame or the software automatically sends it back to the referring source to select another vendor in that service line. With USPRN healthcare vendors are held to high—yet reasonable—standards for both their timeliness and quality of service. Indeed, Kneubuhl explains that, “They [healthcare vendors] agree that USPRN maintains the right to revoke their contract if they’ve had three or more service failures…to our healthcare or patient users.”
Accountability is key in USPRN’s mission, Kneubuhl explains that, “We want the community to receive efficient solutions by holding healthcare professionals accountable to the needs of our families and community.” With USPRN, the days of losing referrals in the ever-growing mountain of digital paperwork are history.
A great deal of the time, a lot of the patients and their families have no idea where to go to seek services. USPRN gives these patients choices from a selection of high-level, quality service vendors. USPRN has taken an approach that benefits patients, physicians, vendors and hospitals. Their business model centers on everyone in the network. With an array of solutions, every single person involved in the health care of the patient benefits and reaps the rewards of an efficient healthcare network.
From flexibility to security and everything in between
Flexibility is the cornerstone of USPRN’s innovation. USPRN can be customized and licensed for specific physician groups and hospitals to use internally in their network only. Since these healthcare vendors have gone through the rigorous selection process and have specific contractual agreements with physicians, USPRN is a natural fit. USPRN manages all referrals to vendors and specialists to ensure that physician groups have autonomy to determine their own in-network vendors. The reality is that healthcare is a business, and one of biggest costs to a physician group is having to pay out of network fees. In their world “financial leakage” is deplorable.
“We want the community to receive efficient solutions by holding healthcare professionals accountable to the needs of our families and community”– Jacqueline Kneubuhl, CEO and Founder of USPRN
Naturally, vendors that sign up with USPRN may worry about who will be first on the list when a physician user logs into the system to refer their patient. USPRN has built in an algorithmic shuffle so every time a referring user, like a doctor or case manager, sends a referral the list of vendors shuffles allowing for equal opportunities of exposure at the top of the vendor list. Physicians, healthcare providers and hospitals are able to engage date driven trending reports for all referrals made. “We have a built in alert to warn the user if they have referred the patient three consecutive times to one vendor to help them manage compliance and patient choice,” Kneubuhl explains.
There are currently over 70 patient oriented agencies in USPRN’s San Antonio Open Network. These specialty services include Hospice, Home Health, Ambulatory, Infusion, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Nursing Homes and Limited Care Facilities amongst others. The network offers quality services to the user whether it be the physician, case manager or patient. For the patient or community user, the selection is narrowed down to select agencies that have been screened and vetted through USPRN. The benefit for users is that, “They get quality agencies that respond efficiently,” Kneubuhl explains.
“We expect to expand into 15 cities ranging from Orlando to Phoenix in 2015”– Jacqueline Kneubuhl, CEO and Founder of USPRN
Given the contemporary climate of pervasive cyber intrusion and the fear of one’s personal information being stolen there’s naturally a wariness about sharing medical information online. Recognizing and proactively taking on this task USPRN communicates via encrypted email and text messages with limited patient information making it a HIPPA compliant site. This allows parties to communicate both securely and instantaneously with real-time approvals, rejections and updates.
With a team of six professionals that have worked mostly in the healthcare industry the USPRN team has over 48 years of experience. It is obvious with the services that USPRN offers, techno-talents and healthcare know-how are the key components in making USPRN an essential software tool to have available to help all users everywhere. With 24/7 support from USPRN users will never have to worry about technical mishaps and an unavailable service provider.
Given their success, USPRN is seeking to expand nationally and diversify into pediatrics. “We expect to expand into 15 cities ranging from Orlando to Phoenix in 2015,” Kneubuhl says. Employing Kneubuhl’s marketing know-how and extensive knowledge of the healthcare field, USPRN has begun changing the medical arena for both current and future USPRN patients as well as vendors and physician specialists throughout the US. Though this is only the beginning.
For more information visit www.usprn.com.