Tea Buzz



Why Do Outreach? Developing an Outreach Philosophy

When it comes to making informed decisions, the best conclusions require a little bit of art and a little bit of science. At the recent Tea Leaves Health 2nd Annual Client Summit, we learned the importance of developing a strategic outreach philosophy from one of our physician engagement clients. If you weren’t able to attend the Summit, we thought we’d share some of the highlights from the sessions.

During one Summit session, titled “Why Do Outreach? Developing an Outreach Philosophy” our client explained that many providers coming out of school haven’t functioned in small practices; they’re often hired by large systems so they haven’t had to hunt for patients. Her organization has developed a philosophy about outreach that extends to its community – the system feels it owes it to the community to provide healthcare locally, so they have their physicians do local outreach.

But, if your organization doesn’t have an outreach philosophy in place, why should you do outreach? Why it is important? Here are a few reasons why:

  • Builds community
  • Continued growth
  • Geographic coverage is essential to support a range of tertiary care subspecialties.

Next you might be asking, how does this client do it? They use the data from the Tea Leaves Health platform to answer questions and make decisions as a system. They have an established service distribution framework, and they use the tools to answer the business questions that come up within that framework.

They use Physicianology data from a business development standpoint for resource allocation. The presenter provided one scenario as an example.

The organization’s Urology service line leaders were considering reducing and/or changing outreach locations. The physician leaders had proposed changes based on perceived patient loyalty.

To pull concrete patient loyalty numbers, the strategic planning and business development team used the Splitter Report in Physicianology to better understand the physicians’ patient panel for their target market. Then, they used the Influence Reports within Physicianology to see the Shared Patient Count – showing them how many patients were loyal to their organization over other locations.

They took the patient count from the Splitter Report and multiplied it with the percentages from the Influence Report to get the Total Shared Patients. They discovered they were getting a good percentage of patients from a decent distance away – showing the value of the historical outreach in the community. Based on the insights they were able to glean from Physicianology, the decision was made to drop three outreach locations and replace them with one consolidated site.

If your organization has an outreach strategy, but you’re considering making changes in the future, this client had a few recommendations:

  • Form a growth committee that provides a venue to discuss changes to outreach locations
  • Base any recommended changes on a combination of factors guided by the Triple Aim + People:
    • Relevant data & key performance indicators (KPIs)
    • Strategic importance
    • Geo distribution
    • Effectiveness and efficiency of care delivery models.

Clearly, an outreach strategy is important, but it’s even more important to have a data-driven approach to back it up. If your organization is interested in developing or adjusting your existing outreach philosophy, contact us to get assistance from the Tea Leaves Health platform.


Reverse Email Appends Available in Patientology

Marketing to patients and prospects without the necessary information is like trying to complete a puzzle without all the pieces. Having comprehensive data is crucial when you need to reach the right people with fewer resources.

If you have a list of email addresses, but need the remaining information on your customer and prospects (such as name, address and phone number), you can fill in the gaps with Patientology’s reverse email append process.

Tea Leaves Health can now provide current name, address and telephone information, along with actionable customer intelligence for your customers and prospects, based on only their email addresses. Using our comprehensive data feeds from public and proprietary sources, we have access to over 300 million opt-in email addresses. We are able to append the most complete and accurate name, address and telephone (landline & mobile) data and can achieve high match rates from your existing email data.

Additional demographic elements (such as home value and income, ZIP+4 and demographic data elements like risk score or direct mail response propensity) may also be appended to your file.

Email addresses submitted through this process will be matched against both your own data (if available) and our third-party vendor.

  • Average vendor data match rate: 35%
  • Typical match rate for vendor data plus client data: 55%
  • Best combined vendor and client data match rate seen to date: 70%

Gaining complete contact information and valuable customer insight from email data is a great way to enhance customer relationships and expand direct marketing opportunities.


Contact us to get process and pricing details.


Key Takeaways from the 2018 Client Summit

Over a fast-and-furious 28 hours, we came, we shared ideas and we conquered the city of Chicago. On July 19 and 20 Tea Leaves Health clients and subject matter experts met at the Hotel Chicago to network, learn from each other, and in true Tea Leaves fashion, have a lot of fun. If you were there, I’m sure you’re already looking back on the week with fond memories (and wishing you had more of that Eataly mozzarella). But if you weren’t able to attend, we thought we’d recap the top takeaways from the Second City (oh and from some of the sessions too):

  1. Analyzing the data is the first step to the solution.

Healthcare marketing is all about the data. The first step to building a solid marketing plan is to dig deep into your existing data and use it to drive your marketing efforts. Having a keen understanding of your current market position, your audience and what makes you different will allow you to make strategic decisions based on substantiated insights.


  1. Personalization is here, and it’s powerful.

Consumers are moved to act when a message resonates with them. And that means those of us in the healthcare marketing space need to take a nod from our friends in retail and take a more aggressive consumer brand approach. Be bold. Stand out. But most importantly, talk to the consumer, not at them. Personalization is the key to profitable growth.


  1. Strive to treat marketing healthcare like healthcare.

Diagnose the challenge, determine the treatment (solution) and apply that treatment to achieve the desired outcome.


  1. Impressions are NOT results. Visits are results.

Knowing the number of impressions your campaign got is a great way to…well…who knows? The true measure of success is the number of visits your campaign generates. If you can execute a campaign and track the results right down to the number of visits that occurred and how much revenue and market share those visits helped your organization gain – then you’ve reached the holy grail. (We can help you do this).


  1. Physician engagement must be strategic and intentional.

Melinda Bemis from CentraCare Health reinforced the long-time physician engagement message, “You can’t change referral patterns just by buying a practice”. There’s so much more to it than that. You need to also dig into the data on your physicians to know where they are referring and why they are referring there, and then build a strategy to keep those physicians from referring outside of your system. Meanwhile, you have to look beyond just the physicians – you don’t always know where the volume is coming from. Tools like Decisionology can help determine that.


  1. It’s also all about consumerism.

According to KaufmanHall, 66 percent of healthcare leaders say consumerism is a strategic priority, but only 23 percent say they have the insights to implement such a strategy. Organizational alignment, foundational information about consumers and competition, analytical capabilities, and a sound data infrastructure will all help push your organization forward.


  1. Content is the currency of modern marketers.

Content marketing is important because your audience wants great content. And the key to creating effective content that helps you connect with your audience is focusing on topics that are relevant to their needs, interests and challenges. And where do you learn more about their needs, interests and challenges? Refer to takeaway #1. It’s all about the data!

Contact us to learn more about how the Tea Leaves Health platform can help your organization tackle each of these items and grow strategically.


The Importance of Capturing the Referring Physician in Clinical Data

When a patient has an encounter with an organization, it is part of a larger journey across the care continuum. Their visit always has a point of origin, and one of the biggest gaps in clinical data today is where the patient came from.

One in three adult patients who see a primary care provider (PCP) are referred to a specialist. If a patient is seeing a specialist, it’s likely a direct referral from a PCP. According to a study by Merritt Hawkins, the average PCP contributes $1.5 million annually to their affiliated hospitals. Despite this, they aren’t always recognized for the encounters they refer. A large majority of organizations are failing to document where the patient came from, or who referred them. They aren’t capturing that information in the patient’s electronic record; therefore, it isn’t being transferred into transcription, billing or claims data – ultimately affecting the subsequent events in that patient’s journey.

If the involved referring physician’s (RP’s) information isn’t captured consistently and accurately, it negatively affects the care continuum of patients, the satisfaction level of referral providers and the physician/hospital relationship in the following ways:

  1. For patients, failure to document PCP and/or referring physician may prevent important communication from occurring between physicians. As a result, the PCP or RP may not have all the necessary information to provide quality follow-up care for the patient. The overall patient experience suffers when care is disjointed, disparate, and uncoordinated. Capturing this information helps support a complete continuum of care, and improves patient and physician satisfaction.
  2. The healthcare system or hospital loses its ability to track or identify physicians who are referring patients and where they are referring them to. By simply recording the referring information, hospitals establish and/or strengthen relationships with providers. Also, if the provider is not accurately identified, confidential patient information may be sent to the wrong provider.
  3. 3. When it comes to the physicians involved, PCPs have choices in where to refer. Once the referring physician or PCP makes the referral, they believe they have a relationship with the referred-to entity. If the referring physician is not identified as being involved with the patient’s care at the time of the patient’s admission (whether it is at the ED, with a specialist, or another point of care) that physician may not receive feedback on the patient’s condition, but may still be expected to provide follow-up care. Additionally, if the relationship isn’t captured, the PCP or RP’s information may be left off of medical records, patient profiles, etc. The specialist will not know there’s a referring physician involved, and that physician will not be recognized for that encounter. All of this can lead to referring physician frustration, dissatisfaction and distrust of the referred-to entity. This can also affect the patient’s confidence in their PCP/RP, and ultimately jeopardize the physician’s satisfaction with the medical staff. PCPs/RPs should be treated as a respected member of the care team, and those who do not receive acknowledgement of the business they send may be easier swayed by the competition. Processes must support retaining and improving the relationships with all involved providers.
  4. For those organizations with physician referral management (PRM) systems, capturing this information can help liaisons know exactly where to focus their outreach efforts, and which physicians to build stronger relationships with. Also, if the PRM system shows shared claims, then the organization knows the information they’ll need for the shared claims is being captured up front.

The referring physician is currently populated on only 25% of claims. This decreases the value of referrals within healthcare systems tremendously. Providers struggle with capturing the information, as it requires internal coordination and organization. However, with the right process, it can be done.

To learn the steps your organization can take to improve: the accuracy and fill rate of PCP/RP information, the efficiency of the business development team in targeting physicians for growth initiatives, and ultimately patient and physician satisfaction, contact your Lead Strategist for a copy of our white paper, The Importance of Capturing the Referring Physician in Clinical Data. You can download it now by clicking here.

Or, you can read more about this in the Becker’s ASC Review article, “How a Pizza Party Can Help Your ASC Boost Referrals: 4Qs with Expert Lori Brenner.”


Top Hospital Challenges Resolved

In February of 2018, the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) released the results from their survey of “The Top Issues Confronting Hospitals in 2017.”

The survey was sent to 1,049 community hospital CEOs who are ACHE members. 299 (29 percent) of the CEOs responded. The results aren’t surprising, as governmental mandates and policy changes directly affect the financial health of the U.S. healthcare system.

The Tea Leaves Health Enterprise Growth and Decision Support Platform can address each and every one of these challenges, taking the burden off the CEO and his team – so everyone can sleep soundly at night.

Below are the top challenges our platform can help resolve:

  1. Financial Challenges
  2. Government Mandates
  3. Personnel Shortages
  4. Patient Safety, Quality and Satisfaction
  5. Physician-Hospital Relations
  6. Access to Care
  7. Technology
  8. Population Health Management
  9. Reorganization

To learn the details of how our solutions can address each challenge, download the white paper here.


Funny ICD-10 Codes for the Fourth

As you prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence tomorrow, remember to proceed with caution! According to AdvancedMD, “the week of Independence Day has one of the highest injury rates of any holiday, even more than New Year’s Eve, with over 41,200 injuries reported annually.”

Therefore, while you grill the brats, bake in the sun and bask in the sparklers’ glow, watch out for these maladies that require your doctors to enter the following ICD-10 codes:

Backyard BBQs

There’s nothing Americans love more than a backyard bar-b-q for July 4th. If you happen to be the one manning the grill, stove or smoker and you’re assaulted by the smoke, fire and flames, there’s a code for that: X97.XXXA. There’s also Y93.G2: activity, grilling and smoking food. And if it isn’t the grill that burns you, it’ll be the sun. Make sure to lather up with sunscreen, or you’ll be admitted with the following code: L55.0 – sunburn of first degree.

Outdoor Games

During summer’s dog days, we all want to hit the yard, beach, pool or lake to cool down or blow off steam. Whether you’re playing in the grass or water, look out for the following (common?) mishaps and their associated codes:

W53.21XA – bitten by squirrel

W21.06XA – struck by volleyball, initial encounter

V91.07XA – burn due to water skis on fire

W56.51XA – bitten by “other” fish.


No Fourth of July celebration is complete without fireworks. But out of all the Independence Day festivities, fireworks are the most dangerous by far. Be sure to protect your feet and hands so when the fun is done, you still have all your digits. However, if anything goes wrong and you acquire the absence of left finger(s), there’s a code for that: Z89.022. Or, if you fry your foot instead, there’s always T25.32: burn of third degree of foot. And if those sparklers discharge incorrectly not once, twice, but three times, never fear – you’re covered with:

W39.XXXA – discharge of firework, initial encounter

W39.XXXD – discharge of firework, subsequent encounter

W39.XXXS – discharge of firework, sequela encounter.

Make the most of your time honoring the birth of our nation, but please do it wisely and safely!