Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System implemented an e-consult program that significantly reduced unnecessary clinic appointments at its gastroenterology specialty clinic.The clinic receives 400-plus referrals a month from Parkland’s community oriented primary care centers. The wait list for an appointment in 2016 was six months or longer. Many of the patients being seen in the clinic did not need an in-person appointment.The GI clinic team joined forces with the health system’s IT staff to develop an econsult platform that was integrated into Parkland’s existing EHR. The e-consult platform allows referring physicians to request either an electronic or face-to-face consultation.The proportion of e-consult to in-person consults grew from just 8 percent in August 2016 to 45 percent within six months. GI specialists could guarantee a three-day turn around time for e-consults, significantly reducing the in-person consultations waitlist.”By all measures of success, the goals of the new GI e-consult service at Parkland are being met,” said Christian Mayorga, MD, clinical chief of digestive and liver diseases and senior medical director of medical specialty services at Parkland. “The program has enabled us to provide faster answers for patients about their care, free up clinics lots for patients needing in-person visits and improve provider satisfaction.”

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