By Jennifer Youngblood, RN, Director of Clinical Operations.
eConsult platforms, such as AristaMD’s eConsult platform, allow primary care providers (PCPs) to obtain care planning advice and treatment recommendations from specialists in >70 specialty areas, within 24 hours, over 50% responded to within 6.
As “curb-side” consults are no longer viable due to liability, eConsults provide PCPs with access to expert advice within a significantly simpler workflow. Rather than waiting on the phone or being pulled out of a room for a return call, the eConsult workflow is seamlessly integrated into the referral process and specialist information is available quickly, and when expected.
eConsults have even been shown effective in more complex specialties such as Hematology & Rheumatology. AristaMD eConsults always include necessary diagnostics, recent visit notes, and images according to our workup checklists, allowing specialists to provide meaningful, actionable input allowing treatment at the primary care level in 70% of submitted cases, eliminating the need for a specialist visit.
eConsults can be used in a variety of ways, many of which may surprise you! Read about all the ways eConsults can support PCP practice below:
1. Interim care planning advice while patients are waiting to be seen by their specialist
- eConsults can be a valuable tool even in the case where patients will be seeing a specialist face-to-face. For example,
- Medication dosage adjustments prior to specialist visit
- Management of symptoms while the patient is awaiting specialist appt
- Diagnostics beneficial prior to specialist visit
2. Non-emergent EKG readings
- Our cardiology specialists can assist with EKG interpretation and provide recommendations within 24 hours.
3. Validation of treatment plan
- Providers can validate their proposed treatment plan with a specialist, allowing them to treat their patient with the confidence of having specialist input and recommendations.
4. Validation of need to refer the patient
- The necessity of referral is often questionable. With eConsults, providers now can validate the need to refer patients within 24 hours, avoiding unnecessary referrals for patients.
5. Simple treatment questions
- What kind of medication can I use that I haven’t tried?”
- “Is there a combination therapy appropriate for this issue?”
- “What diagnostics do I need? What kind of splint should I use?”
6. ER follow up recommendations
- Many times PCP’s are able to manage the patients follow up care in the primary care office without the need for additional specialist visits.
7. Specialized workup recommendations for specific conditions (i.e. Rheum or Hematology)
- Workups for specific conditions can be complex, eConsults allow for specialist input in workups to ensure the most appropriate workup is completed, especially in the case the patient will need to see a specialist. Incomplete workups can cause additional unnecessary specialist visits, which increases time to treatment and decreases patient satisfaction.
8. To receive recommendations when patients cannot see a specialist (i.e. patient insurance denies visit, specialist denies visit, the patient doesn’t have transportation)
- It’s common for underserved patient populations to be uninsured or underinsured, which greatly decreases their likelihood of obtaining specialty care. eConsults allow PCPs to provide these patients with the best treatment possible. Our specialists are able to provide recommendations for best management when seeing a specialist may be the best treatment path but is not available.
- We all know the prevalence of no-shows at the primary care level. No-show rates at specialty clinics are on-par or worse than those in primary care. In fact, in a study done within one of our clients, 70% of the Ortho referrals sent out for in-person specialist visits never made it! They were either denied, never showed, up or were lost somewhere in the referral process
Curious to learn more? Check out our newest case study on our Partnership with ConcertoHealth.