CHI patients will soon have highly-qualified medical specialists contributing to their care. Thanks to a grant-funded program, CHI primary care providers will be able to connect with specialists across the country who can provide guidance and direction in treating a patient. The new program is called the eConsult.
When a patient is referred to a specialist, such as a cardiologist or a dermatologist, they might face delays. It can be challenging to set up an appointment—sometimes waiting months to see the specialist. Other times, a patient may be uninsured and cannot afford to see a specialist, or doesn’t have the means to travel long distances to the nearest specialist’s office.
“We realized that all we need to bridge that gap is guidance on how to manage the patient,” said Dr. St. Anthony Amofah, CHI’s Chief Medical Officer. “The eConsult program allows us to get that guidance from a specialist through even a simple phone call.”
A CHI clinician will be able to consult a network of specialists when they need guidance on a treatment plan or to review test results. What would normally take several weeks, the CHI care team can receive feedback from the specialist in as little as two days.
Not only does this benefit the patient, but having readily-accessible guidance offers clinicians a unique opportunity to expand their own skill set and improve patient care.
“Providers get educated and learn from it,” said Dr. Amofah. “It’s a powerful learning experience that allows you to be a better clinician for other patients as well.”
Dr. Amofah adds, “Technology in the healthcare industry has the potential to make way for patients to receive all-encompassing care by their primary care provider. Patients are more likely to remain consistent in receiving the care they need with their primary physician.”
“These are the leading-edge technologies that make a difference across the board,” said Dr. Amofah.
The eConsult program is set to launch this summer.
A new remote patient monitoring service will give patients and their providers better control over their health this summer.
CHI’s free remote patient monitoring service allows patients who are managing diabetes, high blood pressure or are on a weight management plan to use technology in their own homes to track their progress with their provider—at no cost.
In partnership with WithMyDoc, CHI will send patients home with medical equipment like a blood pressure cuff, blood glucose meter or a body composition analysis scale. That means patients can frequently check and report their health data between visits with their providers.
“This gives providers more real-time information,” said Peter Wood, CHI’s Vice President of Planning and Government Affairs. “If the condition is getting worse, then the provider will know immediately as opposed to two months later when the patient comes in.”
Because the service allows for more real-time reporting, patients don’t need to travel to their health center as often. This is a relief for some patients who cannot arrange transportation as easily as others.
“It’s going to make their appointments more effective and create a partnership with their doctor,” said Carine Astree, a CHI care coordinator. She said the service will encourage patients to take a more active role in their treatment. “It helps the patient own their care.”
Patients will get proper training on how to use the equipment. They will also learn how to send reports using a Bluetooth-enabled tablet, which is also provided free of charge through the program.
“Patients are communicating more often with their care team which will improve patient outcomes,” said Wood. “This technology is allowing us to provide care more continuously.”
The remote patient monitoring service will be offered in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole this summer and eligible patients will be invited to enroll.