Measuring Practice Success and Patient Care:
eConsults Reduce Indirect Costs Associated with
Lower Availability of Specialty Care
Eric Urquiza, Sr. Vice President of Operations & Client Experience at AristaMD
Copays aren’t the only cost to the patient that can impact access to specialty care. Will the patient need additional time off work, childcare, or travel a great distance to see a specialist? eConsults can minimize these costs as well.
We estimate these costs for our clients.
- Patient Miles Saved by avoiding a referral is 45 Miles.
- Patient Hours Saved just in travel, the waiting room and during this specialist visit is 4.85 hours.
Taking time off work is difficult for those with lower incomes, irregular hours or the elderly who need a caregiver to transport them to a specialist visit.
All of these calculations are dependent on the proximity and availability of specialty care in the patient’s area. Rural patients often travel farther for care. Urban patients are more likely to struggle with Social Determinants of Health — economic stability, lack of reliable transportation, or religious, language and literacy barriers.
Patient Savings on Childcare is an often-overlooked challenge. We estimate this cost at $17.50 per hour for the four plus hours needed to attend the specialist’s appointments. That’s $84.88 of childcare per avoided referral. A considerable amount of money for many of the patients we serve.
Five Ways eConsults Support Value-Based Care
Combine your referral management platform with an eConsult solution to reduce patient wait times, cost and the availability of specialty care. Learn five ways our eConsults support value-based care by allowing primary care physicians, nurse practitioners or PAs to submit electronic requests for patient advice to our team of specialists to manage low-acuity patients.
#1 Help Patients Avoid Unnecessary Face-to-Face Specialty Visits
About 70% of eConsults can address what physicians typically send for a face-to-face specialty visit. As a web-based physician-to-physician consultation, there is no need for any particular technology or integration — the PCP orders the referral the same way they would traditionally order one. Or suppose the patient was to go face-to-face for a specialty consult with the provider using our referral nurse coordination, RNN service, and nurse navigators. In that case, our nurse will curate the eConsults by grabbing all of the data needed for the patient from the chart. Private health information is then sent to our specialist, who reviews the data and provides an evidence-based response on that patient’s best practice and management. Within four to six hours, the primary care provider receives a notification and can view the eConsult specialist’s recommendations.
The bottom line — for every specialty visit where we serve the patient using an eConsult and address issues through the primary care provider, we can fend off the need for three face-to-face visits. Also, once you gain specific knowledge from a specialist on a particular condition, you have the answer to the same question when it comes up again.
Sr. Vice President of Operations & Client Experience at AristaMD
Eric has 20 years of experience driving transformational healthcare IT programs, advancing patient care, improving access and outcomes for patients through technological solutions. He has been successful in leading many strategic client relationships and increasing provider adoption of telehealth solutions, ultimately leading to strong efficacy for underserved populations throughout the country. Eric holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands.