“Reduced Cost Of Specialty Care Using Electronic Consultations For Medicaid Patients” Health Affairs, December 2018
A retrospective analysis of e-consult’s economic impact demonstrates that e-consult delivers both improved specialty care access as well as cost savings for the safety net. The research setting of Connecticut-based multi-site FQHC, Community Health Center Inc. (CHC), delivers care to 100,000 patients, 70% of whom are covered by Medicaid. Researchers analyzed e-consults and face-to-face referral data for dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, and orthopedics between July 2014 and June 2016. The analysis revealed that e-consult’s adoption generated an average of $84 PPPM savings for specialty-related episode-of-care costs and delivered annualized Medicaid savings of $578,592.
A review of a randomized trial of e-consults for cardiac patients conducted by Connecticut’s Community Health Center (CHC)reveals a lowering of costs. The study includes 369 Medicaid patients who were referred for cardiology consults. Six months after the consults, which were randomly assigned as e-consults or face-to-face referrals, mean unadjusted total costs for the e-consult patient group were $655 lower than patients in the face-to-face arm of the study. In addition, costs for outpatient cardiac procedures were $81 lower for patients in the e-consult arm. The study concludes that e-consults impact total cost savings because they reduce the cost of cardiac outpatient procedures.
“What are the cost savings associated with providing access to specialist care through Champlain BASE eConsult service? A costing evaluation” BMJ Open, June 2016