eConsults: 1,000 and counting
When Monument Health joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network in January 2020, one of the key Mayo Clinic resources was eConsults, which would allow physicians to collaborate with the experts at Mayo Clinic on their cases.
Terry Graber, M.D., a primary care physician at the Monument Health Hill City Clinic, submitted Monument Health’s very first eConsult. He had a puzzling case and thought Mayo Clinic specialists could help him with his diagnosis. The eConsult was helpful, he said.
Since then, Dr. Graber has ordered 8-10 more eConsults. His most recent eConsult was No. 1,000 for Monument Health – a record for Mayo Clinic Care Network members over a two-year period.
As of this week, Monument Health providers have used eConsults 1,049 times, said Christy Steele, the Monument Health caregiver who works closely with our physicians on eConsults. She said physicians find them a useful way to confirm their diagnoses and treatment plan recommendations. They can also find out if their patients might be a good candidate for any clinical trials that are underway.
Physicians from Monument Health can combine their understanding of their patients’ medical needs with Mayo Clinic expertise so patients get exactly the care they need, close to home and at no additional cost. That’s especially true in specialties such as medical oncology, hematology, neurology and cardiology.
“The coordination of care part of eConsults has been really great. Patients who have previously been to Mayo Clinic for care come home and continue with their specialists at Monument Health,” Christy said. “For some patients, they may never have to physically go to Mayo. Either way the patients’ best interests are our focus.”
Additional resources through the Mayo Clinic Care Network include AskMayoExpert, point-of-care tool that offers clinical information on hundreds of medical conditions, allowing Monument Health’s physicians to draw upon the collective knowledge of Mayo colleagues and eTumor Boards, multidisciplinary, multi-site discussions, offering informal advice regarding diagnostic tests and treatment options for complex cases. There are patient education materials and access to opportunities for professional development, as well.
Dr. Graber said that most often during his eConsults the Mayo Clinic specialists will review the case and confirm his own diagnosis and treatment plan. “That’s reassuring for me, and for the patient,” he said.
In fact, sometimes the patient will ask him to conduct an eConsult. “They say, ‘I’d rather have Mayo come to me, ’” he said.