eConsults: Fewer appointments. Reduced costs.
An eConsult is a request by a primary care provider to another doctor, a specialist or expert, about a specific health complaint or condition. Patients benefit from eConsults in a variety of ways, including lower costs, faster care, expert advice, no travel, continuity of care, fast responses, and less hassle.
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eConsults: Using electronic specialist consults as the solution to the doctor shortage
Our healthcare system is predicated on a model of primary care providers as the hub of care coordination. Primary care physicians (PCPs) provide health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses.
Through routine check-ups, primary care can identify and treat conditions early. As a result, adults in the U.S. who have a PCP are 19% less likely to die prematurely than those who only see specialists for their care.
Moreover, people who receive primary care spend 33% less on healthcare than people who only see specialists – in particular, by reducing the need for emergency room care, where costs at least four times as much other outpatient settings. The role of primary care is becoming increasingly important to achieve cost and population health metrics within the shift to value-based care models.
The challenge ahead
PCPs are challenged to ensure that patients get the right care, in the right setting, by the most appropriate provider, and in a manner consistent with the patient’s desires and values. Complicating this already difficult task, an estimated 209,000 PCPs are caring for a population that is fast approaching 325 million.