Telemedicine Initiative Improves Patient Access and Cuts Costs

The Client

This large, multi-campus Academic Medical Center provides a wide variety of healthcare services, including: primary care, specialist and ancillary services, neighborhood clinics and surgical care.

The Challenge

Due to shortage of specialist physicians, the client’s patients often had to wait months for an appointment in some specialties. To alleviate the situation, they decided to implement eConsult, an asynchronous electronic referral and consulting model, proven to significantly improve patient access to specialty care, provider efficiency, and healthcare outcomes.

The client had started implementation planning for the telemedicine pilot when their project manager had to step away very suddenly. We were engaged to develop and implement a comprehensive installation plan, successfully launch an eConsult pilot, and create a road map for future implementations.

The Solution

We began by meeting with the key stakeholders, analyzing project objectives, reviewing program implementation templates provided by a third-party partner, and creating a pragmatic activation strategy that matched the client’s needs. Our approach was designed to get them live as quickly and smoothly as possible.

  • We partnered with key physician leaders to design a training strategy for primary care and specialists physicians, taking into account the user base, geographic dispersion, technology, and infrastructure required
  • Working closely with IT, we developed the online applications, reports, metrics, training, and communications material needed to support the project processes and technology
  • We built alignment among teams and people, providing them with clear and frequent updates
  • Based on previous experiences, we shared best practices and perspectives with the project team and senior management

The Impact

The telemedicine pilot implementation went live on time, on budget, and with very few activation issues. The client completed 1000+ eConsults in the first nine months of use. As a result:

  • Patient access wait times were reduced by as much as 50%
  • Patient care improved and provider satisfaction was at 100%
  • Over 500+ hours of physician time were saved
  • Due to the success of the pilot, the client decided to expand eConsult to cover more specialties and sites
  • We created an implementation roadmap and program budget the client continues to use