The University of Virginia Health System (U.Va) has begun piloting a program testing the eConsults/eReferrals model, which utilizes digital platforms to speed patient access to specialists.
The university is among five academic medical centers testing the model thanks to a $7 million cumulative grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The UVa program aims to make available additional appointments with specialists for patients with more complex medical conditions. Specifically, eConsults or eReferrals will allow specialists to answer more straightforward questions in some cases without requiring an appointment, according to a press release.
As it rolls out the program, Va is focusing on four specialties: endocrinology, cardiology, digestive health and neurology.
“If you can answer the least complex questions using this model and reduce appointments by 10 percent, you can open up more appointments for patients who will truly benefit from face-to-face interactions with specialty physicians,” said Chris Ghaemmaghami, MD, UVa.’s chief medical officer, in a statement.