What is a physician-to-physician consultation?

What is a physician-to-physician consultation or eConsult? Electronic physician consults enable primary care providers and nurse practitioners to obtain specialist advice for a patient’s care without requiring the patient to go to a face to face specialist visit. This allows the primary care provider to keep patient care within your purview, but at the same time, keep the care for the patient with a trusted provider.

A physician-to-physician consultation is when one physician requests input from another qualified provider

There are a couple of ways to have that occur. One is to do a referral. This is the traditional way — where the PCP writes a prescription, send a patient off to see a specialist and care is transferred from one physician to a second physician. And, the second physician then takes the responsibility for the patient.

When we think about an e-consult, what we’re referencing an electronic request. An electronic physician-to-physician consultation occurs at the PCP’s and specialist’s convenience, asynchronously. This type of referral precludes the transfer of care. The patient, in most cases, continues receiving treatment from the PCP.

When an eConsult occurs, the care is going to be provided by the PCP and the patient will not need to travel or have any of the concerns that might take place with a traditional referral and access to specialty care is resolved.

How are eConsults different?  The service is an asynchronous dialogue that’s initiated by a primary care provider who is seeking a specialist’s expert opinion about a patient’s condition. In this case, the PCP or a member of the team requests advice using the AristaMD panel of over 300 board certified specialists which are all based in the United States.

There’s no video required. The nice thing about asynchronous is it fits into the schedule of the primary care provider. An eConsult can even be compiled at the direction of the PCP by a referral coordinator or a member of the back-office staff.

The response from the specialist typically arrives within under four hours. The nice thing about the way the AristaMD platform is set up is that it is a secure platform. The PCP office is able to share patient information during a physician-to-physician consultation over our platform securely. The information provided to the specialist can include:

  • Patient complaint
  • Medical history
  • Prescriptions
  • Lab reports
  • Imaging

Sharing these details allows the AristaMD specialist to make the most sound, evidence-based recommendation for care for this patient. Unlike curbside consultation, eConsults are an unbiased approach for obtaining specialist advice because the specialist has both the patient’s medical information and is unlikely to be swayed by the PCP due to the electronic exchange. The PCP is sending all of the information for the patient and then allowing the specialist to weigh in with their best judgment. As a result, we see things like new diagnoses, revised patient treatments and even medication recommendations.

eConsults also offer an opportunity for the PCP to seek interim care recommendations. That means that instead of the patient waiting to be seen without having any kind of care or treatment, we can actually have our specialists recommend a treatment path that the patient can then deploy while they’re waiting to get care. This helps to stabilize their condition and prevent exacerbating the patient complaint. Then, once we receive a recommendation and the specialist respond, the PCP can then contact the patient with a treatment plan. It could be someone in the nursing staff that contacts the patient.

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