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New Fibroblast survey reveals disconnect between how leaders perceive vs. act on patient leakage


Chicago, IL, October 31, 2018 — Fibroblast, the leading referral management platform that fixes the broken referral process, today announced new survey findings on healthcare executives’ perceptions of and actions toward patient leakage. Fibroblast commissioned the independent survey of healthcare executives* to learn what they are doing to understand and manage referrals, and to gain insights into how much leakage is costing them.


The full report is available here. Key findings include:


Almost 9 in 10 say leakage is a priority, but there’s a gap between priority and action

  • Some 87% of healthcare executives say patient leakage is extremely (56%) or very (31%) important to their organization. Far fewer reported it as moderately important (12%), slightly important (2%), or not important at all (0%).
  • About three-quarters of organizations (77%) formally track and report on leakage, though more than one in five (23%) do not.
  • Another one in five either don’t understand where and why leakage occurs (10%) or only understand it slightly well (10%). Though almost half have a moderate understanding of their leakage (47%), fewer understand it very well (30%) or extremely well (4%).

Failing to manage leakage has a high financial and clinical cost

  • Two in five (43%) say they’re losing more than 10% of annual revenues due to leakage; 35% are losing 1-10% of revenues, while only 1% of respondents say they’re losing less than 1% of revenues. Almost a quarter (23%) don’t know or don’t track how much they are losing.
  • When asked if their organization follows up to see if patients actually received the care for which they were referred, the majority (60%) said no.

EMRs are the default options but satisfaction isn’t glowing

  • When asked which approach is used to manage referrals, 38% said their EMR, 16% said an in-house solution, 2% outsource to a referral management vendor, and 34% use a combination of the three. About one in 10 either don’t know (5%) or don’t currently manage referrals (6%).
  • Some 19% of executives aren’t satisfied and 57% are only somewhat satisfied with their EMR’s referral management capabilities. Only 10% are extremely satisfied, while 13% do not use their EMR to manage referrals and 2% say their EMR cannot manage referrals.

There are multiple causes of leakage, most of which are addressable

  • Executives attribute patient leakage to a variety of factors; physicians referring to competitors because of personal relationships (38%) was the No. 1 cited cause.
  • Other causes include: patients choosing care from competitors (32%), physician lack of understanding of same/similar services in-network (15%), physician referral to competitors because of better availability (12%), and other (3%).


“Every day, patients walk out of the hospital door and either do nothing with the referral they’ve been given, or they go across the street to a competitor on their doctor’s recommendation. The net effect is that patients don’t receive the care they need, and healthcare organizations lose revenue,” says Scott Vold, Fibroblast Co-Founder and CEO. “As they take on more risk, organizations must build and manage high performance networks to control costs and demonstrate quality. That makes it essential for them to track and understand their referral patterns to get visibility into patient leakage – most of which is within the organization’s control, and significantly impacts patient health and the bottom line.”



Fibroblast commissioned Sage Growth Partners, a third-party healthcare consulting firm, to design and deploy the survey and gather responses. In August 2018, 104 healthcare executives responded to the survey. The large majority of respondents (76%) were C-suite executives: 19% CEOs, 16% CFOs, 18% CMOs, 7% CIOs, 4% CMIOs, 4% COOs, 3% CNOs, and 5% other members of the C-suite. The remaining respondents included VPs, directors, and a variety of other titles. Respondents represented hospitals and health systems (78%), provider groups (11%), ACOs (6%), and other organizations (6%). Percentages may exceed 100% due to rounding.


About Fibroblast

Fibroblast is a referral management platform that fixes the broken referral process by empowering providers with easy-to-use, end-to-end tools that actively manage referrals. By closing the referral loop, it prevents patient leakage, increasing revenues for fee-for-service organizations and lowering risks for accountable care organizations to deliver a clear, compelling return on investment. Visit for more information.