Lack of access to specialists is a critical gap in quality care for vulnerable populations. With too few specialists, patients experience longer wait times, which can be costly in both medical and financial terms. Health Affairs recently published an article that examined the first three years that Los Angeles County's safety-net program used eConsult, an electronic system in which all requests from primary care providers for specialty assistance were reviewed by specialists. The eConsult system was rapidly adopted and decreased wait times to see specialists, according to the Health Affairs article. The California Health Care Foundation's Health Innovation Fund last year made a $750,000 investment in RubiconMD, which provides the eConsults technology platform. With this investment, CHCF supports an innovative approach to improving access to specialty care that implements eConsults for primary care providers in Medi-Cal managed care plans. The following was written in response to the Health Affairs report.
I commend and thank Michael L. Barnett, Hal F. Yee Jr., Ateev Mehrotra, and Paul Giboney for documenting their implementation of an electronic consultation system between primary care clinicians and specialists in Los Angeles County.
Read the full blog article by Robert Moore, CMO of Partnership HealthPlan of California.