We are always looking for innovative solutions that use technology to improve patient care.
Since its implementation in 2015, our eConsults program has enabled our primary care providers to seamlessly request specialty consultations on individual patient cases through our electronic medical record (EMR) system, which is called eD-H. Not only has the program significantly reduced unnecessary specialty referrals and visits, but it has cut down on healthcare and travel costs for patients, fostered better relationships between our healthcare providers, and resulted in more efficient patient care.
In 2014, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics were selected as a pilot site for the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Project CORE (coordinating optimal referral experiences) initiative, which was funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). As part of Project CORE, we implemented a tool called eConsults that is based in the electronic medical record (EMR) and streamlines and improves communication and coordination between primary care providers (PCPs) and specialists.
The eConsults program allows PCPs to request a consultation from a specialist within our system through a patient’s EMR, which is housed within the eD-H system. eConsults are typically used for patients who have low-complexity medical conditions.
Fantastic … quick answers to anything [my PCP] was considering doing.Patient
Benefits of eConsults
Patients, PCPs, and specialists are realizing the benefits of eConsults. Benefits for patients include:
- Faster access to specialty physician expertise
- Lower health care and travel costs due to avoiding unnecessary specialist referrals and visits
- Improved access to specialty care for patients with high-complexity health conditions
- Improved coordination of care between specialists and PCPs
Benefits for PCPs include:
- Efficient access to specialty physician expertise and advice
- Streamlined electronic communication with specialty physicians through convenient EMR-based interface
- Improved relationships with specialty physicians
Benefits for specialty physicians include:
- Easy access to patient information, records and images within EMR
- Streamlined electronic communication with PCPs through existing EMR-based interface
- Improved relationships with PCPs
- Fewer unnecessary specialist referrals and visits
- Increased availability to see patients with high-complexity health conditions promptly
I find that eConsults help me feel I have a relationship with specialists!PCP
eConsults program goals
- Improve coordination and communication between PCPs and specialists.
- Reduce unnecessary specialist referrals and visits.
- Improve access to specialty physician expertise for patients with low-complexity health conditions.
- Improve access to in-person specialty care for patients with high-complexity health conditions.