North County Health Services has a distinguished, nearly half century-long history of serving the primary care needs of a largely low income, working-poor population in North San Diego County, California. NCHS’ mission is to address disparities in care confronted by those in lower socioeconomic groups, ensuring access to high-quality, effective primary care services.
Like many non-profit Federally Qualified Health Centers that work with underserved patient populations, NCHS faces significant challenges in obtaining specialty care for its patients. Reasons that vulnerable patients – a group that includes the elderly, rural residents as well as immigrants – experience difficulty in accessing specialty care including a scarcity of specialists who accept Medicaid due to low reimbursement, and patients’ own difficulties in arranging childcare and/or transportation. This leads to long wait times for appointments, reduced access to care and deteriorating health for Medicaid patients unable to obtain needed specialty care.
With the knowledge that patients’ challenges in obtaining specialty care would likely persist in the future, NCHS physicians began the process of exploring technology solutions that could alleviate the problem. After a thorough evaluation period, NCHS selected the AristaMD eConsult Platform which facilitates communication between primary care physicians (PCPs) and specialists by leveraging eConsults.
An eConsult is an asynchronous, digital consultation between the PCP and the specialist that provides timely access to high-quality specialty care guidance through seamless, secure online communications and information exchange. The HIPAA-compliant electronic consultation platform connects PCPs to specialists, leveraging a national board-certified panel that addresses 34 specialty and subspecialty areas with consultations often delivered within a few hours.
Download the full case study to find out about San Diego County Community Health Center North County Health Services’s experience using AristaMD eConsults to significantly improve referral processes and increase access to specialty care while improving quality of care and reducing excess healthcare spend.