Providing specialty consultant expertise to primary care: an expanding spectrum of modalities

Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 Oct;89(10):1416-26. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.04.016. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


In most models of health care delivery, the bulk of services are provided in primary care and there is frequent request for the input of specialty consultants. A critical issue for current and future health care systems is the effective and efficient delivery of specialist expertise for clinicians and patients. Input on a patient's care from specialty consultants usually requires a face-to-face visit between the patient and the consultant. New and complementary models of knowledge sharing have emerged. We describe a framework assessment of a spectrum of knowledge-sharing methods in the context of a patient-centered medical home. This framework is based on our experience in the Veterans Health Administration and a purposive review of the literature. These newer modes of specialty consultation include electronic consultation, secure text messaging, telemedicine of various types, and population preemptive consults. In addition to describing these modes of consultation, our framework points to several important areas in which further research is needed to optimize effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Consultants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • United States