Posted on 27 Aug, 2021 in
Electronic consultations (eConsults): a proof of concept trial in Australia.
Electronic consultations (eConsults) have shown promise in improving access to specialist advice for general practitioners (GPs) and their patients. In a recent proof of concept (POC) trial conducted in Brisbane, endocrinologists from the Princess Alexandra Hospital provided eConsults to GPs in Brisbane South for patients with diabetes and endocrine disorders.
The trial involved 40 eConsults over a period of 7 months, with the majority of requests relating to type 2 diabetes or thyroid conditions. All eConsult responses were provided within the target of 72 hours, with 92.5% of responses provided within 24 hours. The average time taken for the endocrinologist to perform the eConsult was 14.2 ± 4.4 minutes.
The trial demonstrated that eConsults were highly valued by GPs, with 97% rating the value of eConsults as excellent. The eConsults resulted in a new or additional course of action 68% of the time and confirmed a course of action 32% of the time. Most importantly, the eConsults avoided the need for referral of the patient for a face-to-face specialist review in 55% of the eConsults.
The trial demonstrated that eConsults may address specialist waiting lists and facilitate models of integrated care. With an appropriate funding model, eConsults could be more widely implemented, benefiting patients and healthcare providers alike. By improving access to specialist advice and reducing unnecessary referrals, eConsults can lead to better patient outcomes and more efficient use of healthcare resources.
Russell AW, Adkins P, Hayes L, Prior E, McCormack C, DiGregorio J. Electronic consultations (eConsults): a proof of concept trial in Australia. Intern Med J. 2021 Aug 25. doi: 10.1111/imj.15495. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34432347.