Background

L.A. Care Health Plan has been leading in health information technology, health information exchange and telehealth projects in Los Angeles County. Together, all three support patient-to-provider and provider-to-provider communication, and provide for total care coordination towards achieving a patient centered medical home.

In response to the limited human and financial resources in the clinic community, L.A. Care is working closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Health Care LA Independent Practice Association / MedPOINT Management and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County to develop a single eConsult platform for Los Angeles clinics in order for providers to have a single workflow.

This partnership expands eConsult to multiple safety-net clinics and will improve specialty care access for Medi-Cal, uninsured and underinsured patients.

In 2009, L.A. Care engaged SynerMed and Partners in Care Foundation and launched an 18-month eConsult pilot. The purpose of L.A. Care’s eConsult pilot was to demonstrate the successful consultation and collaboration that results in a PCPs acquiring enough diagnostic input from the specialist to inform and or treat the patient prior to a visit to a specialist and/or eliminate the need for a referral to the specialist.

Preliminary results indicated about half of the eConsults generated resulted in 24% to 48% of face-to-face visits deferred based on specialty. With these and other positive results and lessons learned, eConsult offers improved access and quality of care for patients and improved efficiencies and potential cost savings for payors and healthcare providers.

This project is funded by L.A. Care Health Plan and will benefit low-income and uninsured residents of Los Angeles County.