Electronic Consultation Between Primary Care Providers and Radiologists
AJR Am J Roentgenol . 2020 Oct;215(4):929-933. doi: 10.2214/AJR.19.22270. Epub 2020 Aug 18.
Daniel Walker, D Blair Macdonald, Carole Dennie, Amir Afkham, Clare Liddy, Erin Keely
OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to assess the use of an electronic consultation platform to connect primary care providers and radiologists and provide opportunities for valuable consultation regarding diagnostic imaging in patients, as well as to identify opportunities for targeted education surrounding high-yield radiology topics.
MATERIALS AND METHODS. A retrospective review was performed of consultations conducted using the electronic platform from September 2012 to January 2017. Consultations were classified by subspecialty (neuroradiology, thoracic, abdominal, musculoskeletal, or pediatric radiology), question type (workup, surveillance, education, specialist referral query, discharge, or other), anatomy, and pathology. Feedback surveys were completed by primary care providers after each consultation to evaluate timeliness, value, and impact on patient care.
RESULTS. A total of 302 consultations were reviewed. Subspecialty breakdown was as follows: abdominal, 94/302 (31%); neuroradiology, 74/302 (25%); musculoskeletal, 61/302 (20%); thoracic, 56/302 (19%); and pediatric, 17/302 (6%). The majority of consultations pertained to patient workup (112/302 [37%]), surveillance of imaging findings (95/302 [31%]), and provider education (48/302 [16%]). Cystic lesions (38/302 [13%]), pain (24/302 [8%]), and bone lesions (21/302 [7%]) were the most queried conditions. Patient management was altered in 167 cases (55%), and unnecessary testing was avoided in 84 (28%). Providers rated the perceived value of the electronic consultation system as excellent in 227 cases (75%).
CONCLUSION. The electronic consultation system allowed primary care providers to easily consult with radiologists, was perceived as high value by primary care providers, resulted in altered patient management, and avoided unnecessary imaging tests. We identified follow-up imaging of cystic lesions and imaging workup of pain in patients as opportunities for continuing medical education for primary care providers.
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