Former Utah Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt at HIMSS17 in Orlando on Tuesday.

Want to combat physician burnout? Consider electronic consultation and referral systems

Delphine Tuot, director of the Center for Innovation in Access and Quality at the University of California, San Francisco, on three different eCR models and lessons learned from implementing and evaluating such systems.
By Chris Nerney
07:12 AM
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Delphine Tuot said that eCR systems can help providers achieve the Quadruple Aim by improving the physician experience. 

Whereas the so-called Triple Aim of improving patient care to make populations healthier while reducing costs has been the uber-goal of many providers, policymakers and health IT vendors, there is a growing recognition that a fourth goal – improving the provider experience – is needed to deliver on the promise of healthcare in a value-based world.

To achieve this Quadruple Aim many provider organizations are turning to electronic consultation and referral (eCR) systems, which can improve access to specialty care, enrich communications between primary care and specialty care clinicians, and enhance care coordination.

“A multitude of studies have shown that care coordination across the referral process is suboptimal, and that the flow of information from primary care to specialty care and back is suboptimal,” said Delphine Tuot, director of the Center for Innovation in Access and Quality (CIAQ) at the University of California, San Francisco.

In 2005, CIAQ led efforts to implement and evaluate an eCR to serve San Francisco’s safety net population. Tuot says it is now one of the most mature eCR systems in the country. 

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Seeking to leverage that experience to benefit other providers and populations, CIAQ and CEPC now partner to deliver technical assistance on planning, implementing and evaluating eCR.

With three different eCR models – electronic referrals only, electronic consult only, or an integrated consultation and referral system – it is important that providers choose the model that best suits their needs and addresses their specialty care delivery challenges.

Tout and her colleague, J. Nwando Olayiwola, director of that university’s Center for Excellence in Primary Care (CEPC), will discuss practical tools and approaches for the implementation and evaluation of an eCR system as well as specific adoption considerations, during a HIMSS17 session in February.

The speakers also will explore Quadruple Aim-focused evaluation methods for determining if an eCR is succeeding at improving population health and clinical outcomes, patient experiences, cost and efficiency, and the provider experience.

“Electronic Consultations to Achieve the ‘Quadruple Aim” is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, from 1 to 2 p.m. EST at the Orange County Convention Center, Room 303A.

 HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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