A primary care doctor was always intended to be the manager of a patient's care. They would facilitate the patient's care and direct the patient to higher levels of treatment when necessary. However, more and more often patients simply want to see a specialist, and primary doctors have also been so burdened, that they continue to refer patients out. Since it can be so difficult for a patient to gain access to a specialist, with months long waits at times, a program in L.A. county came up with a hopeful solution.
In L.A., cited from “Specialists drought has Los Angeles turning to e-consulting”, primary doctors and specialists are utilizing electronic health records to do telemedicine amongst themselves for their patients. The doctors have an online referral system, but before the primary care doctor sends the patient to meet with the specialist, the primary doctor and specialist will talk and share information and images from the patient, and decide what the best next steps are.
“The county quickly realized its hypothesis was right - about 30 percent of patients referred by providers at county and community clinics didn’t actually need to see a specialist in person.”
This is an excellent example of how to effectively utilize team based care. This kind of healthcare delivery will become even more important as we continue to switch over to a reimbursement model that relies more heavily on value based care.
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David Eisenberg is currently a medical student at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA, and a contributor to Medical Groups. David believes that it is critically important for physicians to not only be well rounded clinically, but also financially. In an ever changing healthcare system, David hopes to help physicians not only understand how to successfully navigate the dynamic healthcare landscape, but also how to take a leadership role in continuing to develop the medical profession that so many have diligently dedicated their life’s work to. In addition to contributing to Medical Groups, David works with thedoctorschannel.com, as well as helps to run an app for pre-med students that he co-founded, PreMD Tracker.
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