Electronic consultations between primary and specialty care clinicians: early insights

Issue Brief (Commonw Fund). 2011 Oct:23:1-14.


Electronic consultation (e-consultation) is an emerging tool that primary care clinicians can use to communicate with specialists about patients asynchronously--that is, at different times that are convenient for each physician. To conduct an e-consultation, clinicians use either a Web-based program or a shared electronic medical record. Early adopters of e-consultation describe positive experiences for patients, clinicians, and health systems, including improved continuity of care, access to specialists, convenience, and information transfer. E-consultation presents opportunities to improve health care quality and reduce specialty care costs, but dissemination will be limited unless incentives are created and clinicians are encouraged to use e-consultation through financial reimbursement.

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Cost Savings
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Electronic Health Records / economics
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Medicine / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation / economics
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reimbursement, Incentive
  • Telecommunications / economics
  • Telecommunications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Telemedicine / economics
  • Telemedicine / methods
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States