Connecting with Specialists Using eConsults

Connecting with Specialists Using eConsults

  • Robert Cooper MD, MBA, MPH, CHCQM; Medical Director OSU Health Plan and Tricia Smith, Student Research Assistant, OSU Health Plan
  • May, 2019
  • Health & Wellness
A new way primary care physicians can consult a specialty provider through a secure, electronic portal.

One of the most difficult parts of working as an emergency physician is encountering a medical condition that I need specialty help for. When this happens, I have to get a busy specialist physician to interrupt their day and come to the emergency department to see my patient. I often think that I could use video or pictures to work with the specialist and treat the patient much more quickly. For the last several years I’ve been able to do just that with dermatology. If I don’t know what a patient’s skin lesion or rash is, I can take a picture, upload it to the electronic medical record, and have a dermatologist look at it from their home or office. Many times we can come up with a diagnosis and plan over the phone, thus getting the patient out of the emergency department much more quickly.


I’m excited that your Ohio State primary care physician can now do the same for multiple specialties using the recently launched eConsults process. An eConsult is a way for your primary care physician to consult a specialty provider through a secure, electronic portal. This allows your doctor to receive advice and counsel to help determine whether a referral is needed for your condition, or if the online consult is enough to diagnose and treat you. Your doctor will send relevant information to the appropriate specialist, and the specialist will review and respond. Sometimes a condition can be identified and addressed after a brief consult, but if not, the specialist may recommend that you come for an in-person visit. This process will help save you unnecessary visits to the specialist, and when you do need to go, they will already have some information about you and your condition.


What are the benefits to eConsults?

  • This system leads to more timely care: it helps reduce the wait time between you having a problem and it being resolved
  • It decreases the time you would spend travelling to specialty providers
  • When needed, it helps your doctor direct you to the appropriate resources and helps you receive earlier interventions
  • It can save you money by resolving a problem without a visit to a specialist
  • It increases provider communication about you and your health
  • When you do need an in-person appointment with a specialist, it improves your pre-visit work-ups and allows your specialist to have crucial information about you and your health before you arrive

Your primary care physician can request an eConsult with the following Ohio State specialties: dermatology, gastroenterology, ENT, Hepatology, and pulmonology with more specialties in development.


As a partner of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and a provider to Your Plan for Health, we are helping the greatest university on earth promote better health and wellness – one plan member at a time.

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If you want to learn more about the Health Plan, we would love to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions.

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