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A Systematic Review of Asynchronous, Provider-to-Provider, Electronic Consultation Services to Improve Access to Specialty Care Available Worldwide.

A Systematic Review of Asynchronous, Provider-to-Provider, Electronic Consultation Services to Improve Access to Specialty Care Available Worldwide.

A Systematic Review of Asynchronous, Provider-to-Provider, Electronic Consultation Services to Improve Access to Specialty Care Available Worldwide.

Telemed J E Health. 2018 Jun 21;:

Authors: Liddy C, Moroz I, Mihan A, Nawar N, Keely E

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Electronic consultation (eConsult) is an asynchronous electronic communication tool allowing primary care providers to obtain a specialist consultant's expert opinion in a timely manner, thereby offering a potential solution to excessive wait times for specialist care, which remain a serious concern in many countries.
INTRODUCTION: Our 2014 review of eConsult services demonstrated feasibility and high acceptability among patients and providers. However, gaps remain in knowledge regarding eConsult's impact on system costs and patient outcomes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Following the PRISMA guidelines, we conducted a systematic review in May 2017 of English and French literature on OVID Medline, EMBASE, ERIC, and CINAHL databases, examining all studies on eConsult services published since our previous review. The Quadruple Aim Framework was used to synthesize outcomes. Articles reporting on the impact of eConsult on access, patient safety and satisfaction, utilization rates, clinical workflow, and continuing medical education were analyzed using a narrative synthesis approach.
RESULTS: The initial search yielded 1,021 results, 50 of which were included on abstract and received a quality assessment and full text review. Of these, 43 were included in our final analysis. Results demonstrated the worldwide presence of eConsult services in North America and countries beyond, including Brazil, Australia, Spain, and The Netherlands. The breadth of specialty services offered has greatly expanded beyond dermatology and includes cardiology, nephrology, and hematology among others. Overall impact on access measures, acceptability, cost, and provider satisfaction remain positive. There is limited research on population health outcomes of morbidity and mortality.
CONCLUSIONS: The availability of eConsult services has spread both geographically and in terms of specialty services offered. By allowing for a greater population to be served, access to care is being improved; however, long-term impact should continue to be assessed with a focus on patient safety, morbidity, mortality, and cost effectiveness metrics.

PMID: 29927711 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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