E-Consults at CHA: Recommendations from a qualitative study of provider perspectives

Client: CHA Foundation
Topic Area: Healthcare delivery systems
Service: Applied Research

With support from the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) Foundation, ICH led and designed this qualitative study. ICH sought to understand perspectives from primary care providers (PCPs) about various inter-clinician e-consult programs available at CHA, a safety-net community teaching healthcare system in Eastern Massachusetts. Inter-clinician e-consults provide access to specialists, and have been shown to increase provider and patient satisfaction, improve health outcomes and overall access to care. Within a safety-net health system, e-consults can be a valuable tool for improving patient outcomes. ICH conducted seven focus groups with 41 PCPs at CHA. Overall, focus groups revealed that e-consults improved PCP experience by enabling patient-centered care and enhancing PCP education. While PCPs discussed an increase in workload with implementation, they agreed that e-consults have the potential to reduce health care costs.