The University of Virginia Health System is piloting an eReferral/eConsultation initiative, the academic center recently announced.
For the initiative, the health system will allow primary care physicians to consult with and refer specialists through its Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system. The pilot will start with four specialties: endocrinology, cardiology, digestive health and neurology. Primary docs will be able to ask specialists a quick question through the Epic EMR or send a more detailed report if a referral may be needed. The aim of the pilot is to address the shortage of specialists available in certain areas of the country to accommodate the needs of specialty care.
“If you can answer the least complex questions using this model and reduce appointments by 10 percent, you can open up more appointments for patients who will truly benefit from face-to-face interactions with specialty physicians,” Chris Ghaemmaghami, M.D., U.Va.’s chief medical officer., said in a statement.
UVA is one of five academic medical systems participating in the pilot. It is being funded by a $7 million grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.