Specialist consultants use tech to speed consults, assist PCPs

At AristaMD, consulting specialists never see the patient. The company does not cater to patients, but to primary care physicians seeking a consultation with a specialist, using store-and-forward software.

A physician may have a care plan validated for a patient but still has questions about the patient’s case or just wants to know that the present diagnosis is appropriate, said Justin Nelson, senior vice president of sales, during an educational session at HIMSS19.

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There is another reason a physician may use the AristaMD service. In a typical primary care practice, a physician may send a patient to a specialist, but now the local specialist will get the dollars from the patient when what the doctor really wants is to bypass the local specialist.

But a doctor using the service can send an electronic consultation request and get a response from an appropriate specialist employed at AristaMD within 24 hours. However, more than 50 percent of AristaMD's specialists respond in under 6 hours, enabling the doctor to keep the patient dollars.

“As a primary care physician, I make a referral request in the electronic health record, and the referral coordinator will curate the e-consult, and using our work-up checklist, will submit it to Arista,” Nelson explains.

E-consults reduce unnecessary specialty referrals by 70 percent; for a tougher case, 30 percent of referrals may require an in-person specialist visit, he adds.

“Our specialists see the request, give recommendations and send the referral back to the doctor. This keeps the business in the doctor’s office.”

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