Back to basics:

Sandeep Pulim, MD Chief Innovation Officer at Direct Health

I recently came across this comment on LinkedIn regarding the issue of interoperability “The problem isn’t going to be solved with interoperability.  Even if I could reliably get immediate access to records, there’s still a lot of data to weed through. Can I just get a one-one physician to physician conversation and care summary?”  This captures the challenges confronted by many clinicians today who are trying to work efficiently while caring for their patients.  Improving clinician to clinician consults would:

  1. Reduce time for expert consults
  2. Improve care coordination
  3. Improve HCAHPS scores

The benefits of clinician-to-clinician or “peer-to-peer”consults are foundational to practice medicine. Today, however, community doctors face many challenges to access trusted sources albeit crucial when verifying treatment options. This is especially challenging for clinicians who are not in a hospital or a group practice setting and therefore, do not have access to colleagues.

Clinician-to-clinician consults are vital to supporting less experienced health workers out in the community, serving the needs of patients. Peer to peer consults also allow primary care physicians to access trusted colleagues to verify patient care options and get insights into the appropriate management for challenging patients.

A recent study demonstrates the value of having access to consults for managing chronic conditions. Access to the appropriate team members when necessary for helping patients in the community has proven to be a boon for health clinics, and clinician to clinician consults could be utilized for helping patients more efficiently. According to a recent article in Cardiovascular Business “Primary care medical homes and accountable care organizations come closest, but both emphasize primary care, and cardiologists have often not been well engaged,”

Clinician-to-clinician consultation: all levels of cardiac risk

  • Clinician-to-clinician consultations (CTCCs) are intended for primary care physicians (PCPs) who are unsure of diagnosis, test results or abnormalities and would like the expert opinion of another clinician.
  • Despite outsiders’ contributions or suggestions, the PCP remains responsible for their patients’ quality of care, results and treatment.
  • CTCCs are designed to be efficient—these meetings are brief, cost-effective, flexible and allow for simple testing. CTCCs can be in-person or over the phone, which allows increased care to high-risk patients in systems with a shortage of cardiologists.
  • Could be appropriate for a PCP unsure of the significant of an abnormal ECG reading or test result, but who doesn’t need a full consultation.