How to Communicate the Value of an Electronic Physician Consult

September 30, 2021

Value of an Electronic Physician Consult

By Iyad Bibi, Director of Client Service, AristaMD

At AristaMD, we’ve launched many electronic physician consult programs. We have a clear understanding of the value these services bring to your practice and the patient. Communicating that value from the top down results in a more streamlined and effective program launch. We’re sharing our findings on how to communicate eConsult value throughout your organization in this guide.

When introducing a new solution or process to your team, it’s crucial to communicate its value. This includes nurses, administrative staff, and anyone else impacted (likely, everyone in your organization). When your team clearly understands the value provided by a new telehealth solution, it motivates them to learn and adopt the new technology.

The following guide presents a simple two-step approach to introducing eConsult technology, communicating its value, and onboarding it throughout your organization.

Step 1: Ensure Physicians and Administrators Understand the Purpose of an Electronic Physician Consult

Big changes in technology and process need buy-in from the top down. Start by working with your clinic’s leadership to demonstrate how eConsults fit into a complete telehealth strategy—one that incorporates multiple telehealth services, including traditional synchronous telehealth communication and asynchronous communication.

Here’s the distinction between the two:

  • Synchronous communication: Traditional telehealth is focused on virtual real-time communication between the member/patient and a provider. Both parties must be present at the same time, as is the case with patient-to-provider videoconferencing.
  • Asynchronous communication. When two or more people don’t need to be present at the same exact time to communicate, the interaction is asynchronous (email is an example). AristaMD’s platform enables asynchronous communication between the PCP and the specialist in what’s called an eConsult.

Once you clarify what an eConsult solution is and how it differs from (and complements) other telehealth technologies, you can communicate how it might address the challenges faced by your organization.

For example, eConsults help improve access to patients facing barriers to receiving care. They also reduce referral wait times,  and decrease patient leakage.

You can then share data that demonstrates how the program supports organizational goals now that you have established a clear need for an electronic physician consult solution,

ConcertoHealth: Addressing the Challenges of Caring for Dual-eligible Medicare & Medicaid Beneficiaries

Concerto Case Study

Learn how ConcertoHealth solved challenges providing timely and effective specialty care to their elderly and vulnerable dual-eligible patient population through leveraging the AristaMD eConsult platform.

“When embraced, eConsults became a tool for providers to help them become a ‘Super PCP.’ eConsults help PCPs to serve as the sole provider to the patients.” Dr. Christopher Dodd, Chief Care Transformation Officer.

Step 2: Communicate Your Plan to Rollout Electronic Physician Consult Services

Let your staff know about your plans to implement an eConsult solution as soon as possible. Your go-live date shouldn’t be a surprise. Expedient adoption of new telehealth services across your entire organization is critical to the success of rollout. We recommend leveraging standardized communication templates and support documentation to help introduce the program and clarify the value of an electronic physician consult.

Communication Plan Recommendations

A simple communication plan for physicians launching an eConsult solution works best. A project leader or clinical champion should oversee the plan and spearhead all communication. The communication plan is comprised of four parts focused on giving providers:

  • Introducing the service and providing background information on the problem statement.
  • Showcasing the value of a complete telehealth strategy.
  • Sharing eConsult data and the specific impact to providers and their patients.
  • Coordinating training of team members on how to use the service and explain the benefits to patients.

Adjust the cadence and content as needed for your clinic and staff.

Communication #1: Introducing the eConsult Service

Content: Provide introductory information for all site staff and providers on the new eConsult solution Be sure to include the reasoning behind the launch of the program and a general overview of the its benefits. We also recommend including a general timeline for further communications and training dates.
Timing: Send Communication #1 as early as possible after the partnership is finalized.

Dear providers, We’re excited to announce our new partnership with AristaMD, a cloud-based specialist eConsult platform that will enable our to receive care based on the advice of specialists within a primary care setting.  

Today, millions of patients struggle to get timely access to specialty care, hindering positive health outcomes and significantly decreasing the efficacy of care we can provide. By 2025, it is predicted the U.S. will suffer a specialist shortage of between 28,000 and 64,000. The access problem is exacerbated by an estimated 9.7M per year “clinically inappropriate” physician referral rate. Avoidable referrals attribute higher wait times as well as costs across the healthcare landscape.

Digital health and telemedicine are rapidly evolving the healthcare industry by providing intelligent solutions at the primary care level. eConsult services are helping primary care clinics to increase access to specialist care. It’s with this in mind that we announce the inclusion of an eConsult platform within our patient care delivery model. The platform expands patient access to specialty care within the primary care setting. This results in better health outcomes and improved clinical efficiencies.

 Active clinicians report that well-implemented eConsult solutions are easy to use, efficient, and improve quality of care and access to specialists. Also, patients consistently respond favorably to using eConsults, citing direct health and cost savings stemming from faster access to specialist treatment recommendations and a reduction in specialist referral visits

 Over the coming weeks, you will receive additional information on the AristaMD solution, to prepare you for our upcoming training session. Please review the information, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.


Communication #2: Showcasing the Value

Content: Showcase the value of an eConsult platform as part of a complete telehealth strategy using a video overview that demonstrates how eConsults work. Include an eConsult case study and examples of eConsult responses.
Timing: Send 2-3 weeks prior to training and go-live date.

Dear Providers, Last week we announced the coming partnership with AristaMD, a cloud-based specialist eConsult platform. We would like to share a couple of videos and a real-world case study to better demonstrate the value of the specialist eConsult platform. 

eConsults have proven to be effective in care planning for many conditions, including complex cases. Read some examples of eConsults that represent interesting cases that were treated at the primary care level with recommendations from a specialist via eConsult. We will be reviewing even more eConsult applications and use cases during the upcoming training session. 


Communication #3: Sharing eConsult Data

Content: Share eConsult data (effectiveness, impact to care plans, etc.) and specific impact to providers and their patients.
Timing: Send 1-2 weeks prior to go live.

 Hello Providers,  As we approach the onboarding phase of the AristaMD eConsult platform, we want to share some data that clearly communicates the value of eConsult technology.

Telehealth and eConsults, as delivered through the AristaMD platform, deliver immediate, quantifiable results across the spectrum of healthcare. The chart below shows AristaMD’s eConsult efficacy, as reported by primary care providers:

eConsult efficacy

Dermatology eConsults positively influenced the care plan 90% of the time and replaced the need for a specialist visit 80% of the time. Below is an overview of the benefits:

  • Benefits to providers:
    • Enhanced care offering
    • Educational tool
    • Revenue generation from keeping patient
    • Improved patient management
  • Benefits to patients:
    • Avoid time off work/need for childcare
    • Immediate specialist access
    • Lower out of pocket cost
    • Fewer acute events and ED visits

In just a few more weeks you will have the opportunity to begin using this platform within your practice!  Check out the attached PDF to learn more about the value of eConsults and view evidence of efficacy of telehealth related to eConsults through a review of published literature.


Communication #4: Coordinating Training

Content: Training date reminder and final preparation.
Timing: Send 2-3 days prior to go-live date.

Hello Providers, Over the past few weeks, we have provided some background information on the AristaMD platform and the value of eConsults. Our hope is that you’ve had a chance to review the information and found the platform interesting and the results compelling.

 As a reminder, your training session for the eConsult platform will be held [insert date]. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments prior to our training. 



Communicate with Providers for a Smooth eConsult Program Launch

Effectively communicating the value of a new service sets the stage for the successful launch of your electronic physician consult program. We’ve seen this firsthand over the years as we worked with our client partners to facilitate eConsult implementations across various healthcare organization types.

Our guide and supporting information help you effectively communicate the value of eConsults. If you have any questions about AristaMD’s streamlined approach to offering eConsults, please don’t hesitate to contact us.