Asynchronous vascular consultation via electronic methods: A feasibility pilot

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Management of chronic disease often requires multidisciplinary clinical efforts and specialist care. With the emergence of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), health care systems are incentivized to evaluate methods of information exchange between generalists and specialists in order to provide value while preserving quality. Our objective was to evaluate patient and referring provider satisfaction and outcomes of asynchronous electronic consultations in vascular care in a large tertiary academic medical center. Referring providers were offered a vascular ‘e-consult’ option through an electronic referral management system. We conducted chart review to understand the downstream effects and surveyed patients and referring providers to assess satisfaction. From 24 March 2014 to 1 March 2015, 54 e-consults were completed. Additional testing and recommendations were made in 49/54 (90.7%) e-consults, including lower-extremity venous duplex ultrasonography with reflux testing, duplex ultrasonography of the carotid artery, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, non-invasive physiology arterial studies, laboratory tests, medications, compression stockings, and sequential lymphedema compression therapy. Referring providers were compliant with recommendations in 40/49 (81.6%) of e-consults. A total of 17/54 (31.5%) patients were surveyed with a median patient satisfaction score of 13.7/15 (91.3%) (SD ± 6.4). The program was associated with high referring provider satisfaction, with 87.0% finding the e-consult very helpful and 80.0% stating it averted the need for a traditional visit. Our experience suggests that e-consults are an effective way to provide vascular care in some patients and are associated with high patient and provider satisfaction. E-consults may therefore be an efficient method of care delivery for vascular patients within an ACO.

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