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What are the costs of improving access to specialists through eConsultation? The Champlain BASE Experience (Canada)

International Literature

posted by WM Admin on 25 May 2015

The authors implemented the Champlain BASE eConsult service in the region of Ottawa, Canada to increase access to specialist care.

This is an economic evaluation from the perspective of the payer: the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of Ontario. All eConsults submitted during April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014 were included. The authors attributed cost savings only to those cases where an eConsult led to the avoidance of a face-to-face specialist visit.

A total of 2606 eConsults directed to 27 different speciality groups were included. In 40.3% (n=1051) of cases processed, a face-to-face specialist visit was originally planned but avoided as a result of eConsult, while 29% led to a referral. The estimated cost per eConsult for Years 1, 2, and 3 were $131.05, $10.34, and $6.45 respectively. Results from a sensitivity analysis project that the eConsult service will break even once it reaches 7818 eConsults.

The authors note that this is one of the first studies to examine costs across a multispecialty eConsult service. They saw a marked decrease in the cost per eConsult over each annual period. They go on to say that future research is needed to identify and examine similar outcomes that may lead to cost savings.

This is an open access document and can be downloaded in free full text at:  http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/978-1-61499-505-0-67

Liddy, C., et al. (2015). What are the costs of improving access to specialists through eConsultation? The Champlain BASE Experience. In: Vol. 209: Global Telehealth 2015: Integrating Technology and Information for Better Healthcare.