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The American Journal of Managed Care January 2018
Measuring Overuse With Electronic Health Records Data
Thomas Isaac, MD, MBA, MPH; Meredith B. Rosenthal, PhD; Carrie H. Colla, PhD; Nancy E. Morden, MD, MPH; Alexander J. Mainor, JD, MPH; Zhonghe Li, MS; Kevin H. Nguyen, MS; Elizabeth A. Kinsella, BA; and Thomas D. Sequist, MD, MPH
The Health Information Technology Special Issue: Has IT Become a Mandatory Part of Health and Healthcare?
Jacob Reider, MD
Bridging the Digital Divide: Mobile Access to Personal Health Records Among Patients With Diabetes
Ilana Graetz, PhD; Jie Huang, PhD; Richard J. Brand, PhD; John Hsu, MD, MBA, MSCE; Cyrus K. Yamin, MD; and Mary E. Reed, DrPH
Electronic Health Record "Super-Users" and "Under-Users" in Ambulatory Care Practices
Juliet Rumball-Smith, MBChB, PhD; Paul Shekelle, MD, PhD; and Cheryl L. Damberg, PhD
Electronic Sharing of Diagnostic Information and Patient Outcomes
Darwyyn Deyo, PhD; Amir Khaliq, PhD; David Mitchell, PhD; and Danny R. Hughes, PhD
Hospital Participation in Meaningful Use and Racial Disparities in Readmissions
Mark Aaron Unruh, PhD; Hye-Young Jung, PhD; Rainu Kaushal, MD, MPH; and Joshua R. Vest, PhD, MPH
Currently Reading
A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Cardiology eConsults for Medicaid Patients
Daren Anderson, MD; Victor Villagra, MD; Emil N. Coman, PhD; Ianita Zlateva, MPH; Alex Hutchinson, MBA; Jose Villagra, BS; and J. Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH
Racial/Ethnic Variation in Devices Used to Access Patient Portals
Eva Chang, PhD, MPH; Katherine Blondon, MD, PhD; Courtney R. Lyles, PhD; Luesa Jordan, BA; and James D. Ralston, MD, MPH
Hospitalized Patients' and Family Members' Preferences for Real-Time, Transparent Access to Their Hospital Records
Michael J. Waxman, MD, MPH; Kurt Lozier, MBA; Lana Vasiljevic, MS; Kira Novakofski, PhD; James Desemone, MD; John O'Kane, RRT-NPS, MBA; Elizabeth M. Dufort, MD; David Wood, MBA; Ashar Ata, MBBS, PhD; Louis Filhour, PhD, RN; & Richard J. Blinkhorn Jr, MD

A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Cardiology eConsults for Medicaid Patients

Daren Anderson, MD; Victor Villagra, MD; Emil N. Coman, PhD; Ianita Zlateva, MPH; Alex Hutchinson, MBA; Jose Villagra, BS; and J. Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH
A randomized trial of eConsults for cardiology referrals from primary care resulted in significant reductions in total cost of care compared with traditional face-to-face consultations.
ABSTRACT

Objectives: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of electronic consultations (eConsults) for cardiology compared with traditional face-to-face consults.

Study Design: Cost-effectiveness analysis for a subset of Medicaid-insured patients in a cluster-randomized trial of eConsults versus the traditional face-to-face consultation process in a statewide federally qualified health center.

Methods: A total of 369 Medicaid patients were referred for cardiology consultations by primary care providers who were randomly assigned to use either eConsults or their usual face-to-face referral process. Primary care providers in the eConsult arm transmitted consults to cardiologists using a secure peer-to-peer communication platform in an electronic health record. Intention-to-treat analysis was used to assess the total cost of care and cost across 7 categories: inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, pharmacy, labs, cardiac procedures, and “all other.” Costs are from the payer’s perspective.

Results: Six months after the cardiology consult, patients in the eConsult group had significantly lower mean unadjusted total costs by $655 per patient, or lower mean costs by $466 per patient when adjusted for non-normality, compared with those in the face-to-face arm. The eConsult group had a significantly lower cost by $81 per patient in the outpatient cardiac procedures category.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that eConsults are associated with total cost savings to payers due principally to reductions in the cost of cardiac outpatient procedures.

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(1):e9-e16

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