Harvard Pilgrim Health Care http://harvardpilgrim.org grants totaling $ 32,000, support the Weitzman Institute’s www.weitzmaninstitute.org Community eConsult Network (CeCN) expansion of electronic specialty consults in Connecticut. The electronic consults will make it easier for patients to access specialty consults and care by providing their primary care providers with quick access to a network of board certified specialists.
A study by the Weitzman Institute, the research and innovation arm of Community Health Center Inc., has demonstrated significant value from eConsults. Over the past five years, between 60-90 percent of specialty consults were resolved by eConsults in two days or less.
The research has also shown that using eConsults are not only effective but have also reduced emergency room use. More than 14 specialties are currently available through CeCN including cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, pediatric cardiology, orthopedics, and pain management.
Harvard Pilgrim has also granted $20,000 to support a twelve month eConsult pilot now being conducted at Value Care Alliance (VCA) member outpatient clinics. The pilot was initiated with Middlesex Hospital Primary Care in Middletown Connecticut.
Data collected through the pilot will be evaluated to determine efficiency and then the plan is to implement eConsults at all VCA member organizations. The goal is to provide better specialty care for VCA patients but also to provide care to special populations such as individuals with addictions, with behavioral health problems or chronic pain, and in the end, reduce the cost of care.
In addition, a grant for $12,000 will enable CeCN to work with the Community Medical Group (CMG) to implement a full scope eConsult referral process available to all 400 primary care physician members of CMG’s Independent Practice Association (IPA).
CMG physicians practice across Connecticut in 33 cities and towns. Similar to the pilot with VCA, a custom easy to implement program will be developed to provide CMG members access to eConsults in a variety of specialties.