Brown & Toland Physicians Launches E-Consult Program with Stanford Health Care
Oakland, Calif. [Aug. 16, 2022] Brown & Toland Physicians has launched a free-of-charge electronic consultation program between primary care physicians (PCPs) in its BTHealth network and subspecialists at Stanford Health Care that aims to expand access, reduce unnecessary in-person appointments, improve patient outcomes and lower costs.
Clinical questions addressed via an e-consult provide valuable input from the specialist and maintain relationship continuity with the primary care provider, who will implement the specialist’s recommendation and maintain management responsibility.
“For many clinical questions, an e-consult improves the experience of care for the patient, negating the need to arrange time off from work, child care, travel, parking and the costs associated with those,” said BTHealth president Joseph Aquilina, MD.
For instance, a patient visits her BTHealth primary care physician complaining about dizziness. The primary care physician does an evaluation. The initial tests lead to a specific question about the next steps in the evaluation, and the PCP decides to consult a neurologist. The primary care physician asks a question through any electronic health record, sending the secure message to a Stanford Health Care neurologist who has agreed to respond within 72 hours if the case can be managed with clinical guidance from the specialist. If the neurologist deems the clinical question too complex for an e-consult, the patient is then referred to the most appropriate Brown & Toland specialist for an in-person visit.
“With e-consults, patients often don’t have to go any further than their BTHealth primary care practice for most conditions, as we’re able to manage these cases at a higher level than the average—ordinarily busy—practice would be willing to or are able to,” said Aquilina.
E-consults with subspecialists allow primary care providers to expand their clinical knowledge and treatment bandwidth, and clinical recommendations received are scalable to other patient scenarios, eliminating the need to re-consult for the same question.
“Primary care is positioned as a key player in improving access to care and reducing wait times, and e-consults help BTHealth PCPs do this even more effectively,” said Tom Boggs, chief executive officer of Brown & Toland Physicians. “Managing more routine referrals within the primary care setting allows specialists to make appointments available for the higher acuity patients who need them most, improving health care outcomes for all.”
About Brown & Toland Physicians
Brown & Toland Physicians is a leading network of independent doctors focused on delivering personalized and high-quality health care to the San Francisco Bay Area. Its network of more than 3,000 physicians, serving more than 355,000 HMO, ACO and PPO patients, is dedicated to improving care and reducing costs through innovative care management and care coordination programs, use of health care technology, and population health management strategies. Brown & Toland, a Bay Area health care beacon since 1993, collaborates with leading hospitals and health plan providers to provide high-quality care in the Bay Area.