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AristaMD’s CMIO: Find the Most Important Question…and Answer It

A chat with AristaMD’s Chief Medical Information Officer Kathleen Myers, MD, FACEP

Each year, patients receive nearly 100 million referrals to healthcare specialists, but a majority of these visits are unnecessary. Not only does this increase healthcare costs, but it also extends the wait time to see a specialist for patients who need care the most.

Having been on the delivery side of healthcare for more than 20 years and a practicing physician, AristaMD’s Chief Medical Information Officer Kathleen Myers, MD, FACEP, has witnessed first-hand the shortfalls in the specialty referral process.

“Specialty referrals are outpatient referrals made by a primary care provider to a subspecialty physician and are a key driver of the total cost of healthcare, but many patients do not need to be seen in person.”

Believing there was a better way to manage the specialty referral process, she joined AristaMD, innovative provider of the cloud-based Smart Care Platform for primary care physicians and specialists. While the specialty referral space may seem crowded with other companies, Myers believes AristaMD is solving the most important question: Is this referral necessary?

And in over 60 percent of cases, it is not.

“Patients and physicians are frustrated because they do not have a way to answer a simple, but complex question: ‘Is this referral necessary?’ So, they go through with the referral. I saw that if that question continues to go unanswered, it will overwhelm the system.”

AristaMD’s cloud-based Smart Care Platform transforms the delivery of primary and specialty care by empowering primary care physicians with evidence-based clinical work-up checklists, eConsults and an expert national panel of specialists and analytics to optimize care collaboration. This enables the streamlined and timely delivery of healthcare, while easing the burden on specialists.

“We partner with physicians to tailor eConsults and work-up checklists to resolve a majority of routine consults without triggering a need for an in-person visit to a specialist.”

In the fall of last year, AristaMD discussed the results of a pilot program with North County Health Services in San Diego:

“In this pilot, nearly two-thirds of patients got the answers they needed within four hours — without the need for an in-person visit with a specialist. We see these results across the board in all of our clients, from rural systems to urban centers. We also know this solution can result in a reduction in ER visits and hospital admissions.”

North County Health Services has subsequently expanded its use of the Smart Care Platform system-wide. Since entering the market, AristaMD has experienced strong demand for its services with both the Central California Alliance for Health and Community Health Center Association of Connecticut (CHCACT) Partners selecting AristaMD to provide eConsult and Health IT solutions.

“We have a variety of issues hitting our healthcare system from changing to value-based care to meeting the needs of underserved populations. With our Smart Care Platform, we believe we can contribute to positive patient outcomes and cost savings by delivering more efficient and better care coordination.”

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