eConsult & eReferral Learning Roundtable: Considerations for Implementation in the Healthcare Safety Net
In 2014, the Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF), as part of their effort to invest in innovations to improve access to specialty care services for the safety net population, reached out to the leadership of IHQC for support in the planning and development of an eConsult Learning Roundtable. eConsult and eReferral systems are used to improve access to specialty care by promoting dialogue between primary care providers and specialists – for enhanced, timely consultation, case review and care management. This eConsult Learning Roundtable brought together experts from across the country to discuss lessons learned from their implementations of eConsult and eReferral systems. The best practices discussed were shared with communities and health systems that are contemplating implementing these platforms to improve access to specialty services.
IHQC staff facilitated the planning process by conducting stakeholder interviews and surveys with experts in the field. Through these efforts we found that the planning and implementation of eConsult systems requires significant relationship development; leadership, clinical and operational engagement; structured project management; and technology selection and roll-out. IHQC created the agenda, supporting documentation, and coordinated the outreach and recruitment efforts for the Learning Roundtable. During the day, IHQC staff facilitated a lively discussion where more than 40 leaders from the field discussed the implementation stages for these systems (readiness assessments, prep and planning, implementing the systems, refining workflows, scale-up and spreading), considerations for sustainability, and evaluation frameworks and measuring impact. The findings from these discussions were summarized in a series of reports written by IHQC staff for BSCF.