L.A. Care’s eConsult Program Passes 50,000 Electronic Consultations

Nation’s Largest Publicly Operated Health Plan Deploys New Telehealth Platform that Improves Patient Access to Specialty Care

LOS ANGELES – L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, announces that for its eConsult telehealth program, more than 50,000 electronic consultations between primary care providers (PCPs) and specialists have been initiated.  eConsult is a web-based care coordination platform that enables PCPs and specialists to securely share health information and discuss patient care, with the goal of providing the right treatment at the best place in the shortest time.  The program is the largest rollout of its type in the nation.

“We’re pleased to see that the volume of electronic consultations is growing so fast, which shows that PCPs and specialists are embracing the platform and using it routinely to work together to get patients the care they need,” says Mary Franz, Executive Director of HITEC-LA and Health Information Technology for L.A. Care.  “We’re looking forward to expanding the program to additional IPAs and practices to help even more patients get better access to specialty care.”

The eConsult platform is used by almost 2,000 PCPs in 182 community clinic/health center sites across L.A. County that serve 500,000 low-income individuals and families.  More than 30 different types of specialist physicians are available to review eConsults from PCPs.

“It is exciting to develop an innovation that can offer better care possibilities to millions of underserved and disadvantaged patients,” says Dr. Trudi Carter, Chief Medical Officer for L.A. Care.  “Even though it is in its early stages, eConsult has shown that it has the potential to enhance patient experience with faster access to specialty care, improve patient quality of care through better collaboration between PCPs and specialists, and reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary referrals and decreasing follow-up visits to specialists.”

eConsult reflects L.A. Care’s commitment to improving access to quality health care for low-income and vulnerable residents throughout the county.  The safety net, the system that provides care to the poor and uninsured, is overwhelmed with the volume of patients needing access to specialty care.  eConsult aims to help ease this situation using new telehealth technologies.

 “The primary care providers caring for patients in the safety net population are dedicated and overworked with scarce resources,” says Dr. Bruce Greenfield, Medical Director of Health Care L.A. Independent Physicians Association (HCLA).  “New technologies, such as eConsult, add a greater burden of time and investment of energy up front, yet overwhelmingly our PCPs have found that investment to be worthwhile and beneficial for them and for their patients.  With 50,000 eConsults, we have begun to re-create the medical community of providers who regularly communicate in specific and useful ways to enhance the care of our complex patients.”

“The eConsult system has allowed the L.A. County Department of Health Services to provide specialty assistance to over 1,300 primary care physicians practicing in both County facilities and in our many Community Partner agencies,” says Dr. Paul Giboney, Director of Specialty Care for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS).

The program consists of the second largest public health care delivery system in the nation, DHS, and one of the largest safety net clinic associations in the state, HCLA.  Also playing central leadership roles are MedPOINT Management and Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles CountyL.A. Care provides major funding and management.

For more information on eConsult, visit www.econsultla.com.

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About L.A. Care

L.A. Care Health Plan (Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County) is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of programs including L.A. Care Covered™Medi-Cal, L.A. Care’s Healthy Kids, L.A. Care Health Plan Medicare Advantage HMO and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan. L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With more than one million members, L.A. Care is the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.