March 29, 2021 3 min read
Sending patients for a referral the old fashioned way - fax machines and follow up - creates long wait times and delays care more than it has to be. The use of eConsults helps primary care physicians get expert answers for their patients much more quickly (shaving as much as 94% off wait times) to improve outcomes and reduce the burden on secondary care.
An eConsult is a way for physicians to request (ask) a clinical question to a specialist regarding patient care without necessarily requiring a visit. eConsults promote rapid guidance for treatment plans and identify whether the patient needs to be seen by the specialist before initiating the administrative work of scheduling and taking up clinic time.
Dr. Mark Lewis, Dr. Timothy Weighman, and Dr. Trevor Campbell, are some of the many doctors who have implemented eConsults into their practice using the new eConsult service eMD. They have shared their experience and how their patient’s care was improved in the webinar video below.
Dr. Lewis, Director of Operations at Caleo Health, has been using Secure-Mail to manage referrals since 2015. He appreciates how eConsults allows him to reach a variety of different specialists and hopes others will start using this tool as well to help expand the community.
Dr. Lewis says eConsults help physicians quickly share details of the patient presentation that he would not be able to be shared using a standard communication platform. eConsults conducted using eMD provide an audit trail, which allows both sides to have access to all the information and make an informed decision on what the next steps should be for the patient.
Patients can also be kept in the loop on the status of their referral and are notified (like the doctors/physicians) when their referral has been sent and responded to. This reassures the patient that they are “waiting in the right line” and their referral is accelerated accordingly.
Dr. Lewis explains how this patient engagement “closes the communication loop”, and patient phone calls regarding their referral status “have been pretty much eliminated”.
Dr. Weighman explains that often a transfer of care isn’t needed, but rather guidance from specialized experts about how to manage his patients' condition. He is encouraged by how eConsults help reduce the time it takes for a specialist to respond to questions.What would usually take weeks to months now can take only “45 minutes - 2 hours for a specialist to send over a treatment plan”.
In his past experience with being both a primary and secondary care physician, Dr. Weighman has noticed “a great knowledge gap between the two”. With eMD, all the information needed can be sent together at once and documentation can be easily reviewed by a specialist in less than 10 minutes. Having these in-depth conversations and collaborations with specialists help guide patients to receiving the most appropriate care in a timely manner.
To learn more about Dr. Weighman’s experience, watch the full interview below.
Dr. Campbell is a chronic pain specialist who has been using Secure-Mail and eMD to complete virtual assessments since before COVID-19. He believes that this technology meets the patients expectations and is very similar to how these assessments would be done in person.
With virtual assessments, Dr. Campbell is able to reduce patient wait times and go into further detail with the assessment. The tools for assessment and recommendation allow him to be thorough. He explains, “when I complete my spinal chronic pain consults, I not only feel like my work is well done, but done PERIOD.”
Secure-Mail provides Dr. Campbell with “peace of mind and confidence that actual medical direction is being provided correctly and in a timely manner”, and he highly recommends virtual assessments when possible even after the pandemic.
To learn more about Dr. Campbell's experience, watch the full interview below.
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