Skip to content

3 keys to bridging gaps between primary and specialty care for better outcomes 

Published on August 11, 2023  |  By: RubiconMD

In today’s healthcare landscape, effective collaboration and communication between primary care and specialty care clinicians are crucial for providing high-quality care. But bridging these gaps is just one of the many challenges PCPs face in performing their jobs: studies show that PCPs are more likely to believe that they do not have adequate time to spend with patients during office visits than do specialists. This is likely because of the complex nature of primary care, which involves longitudinal care over time and coordination across various conditions. Additionally, more than 60% of PCPs report some sign of burnout, which presents a huge challenge to the US health system. Along with making more time in the workday and reducing time spent in the EHR, clinicians also need rapid access to meaningful insights from peers and specialists. When communication is better, not only do patient outcomes improve, but so does physician satisfaction. Adopting a systematic approach that connects PCPs to the right tools and specialists, at the right time, is one essential piece of improving healthcare delivery.

Three steps to facilitate better clinician-to-specialist communication

  1. Make collaboration easier for primary and specialty care clinicians via eConsult technology. eConsults help foster a shared understanding of patient needs, facilitate knowledge exchange, and set the framework for rapid, comprehensive care planning. Through secure online interactions, PCPs seamlessly engage and collaborate with a network of trusted specialists in open communication about relevant patient data, concerns, and treatment goals. Specialists can better understand the context of the patient’s condition and their unique needs, and contribute their specialized expertise. Collaboration enables better evidence-based interventions and reduces medical errors, and related costs to unnecessary care while enhancing patient safety — ultimately improving the quality of care.
  2. Engage patients in the process. A seamless and coordinated healthcare experience greatly contributes to patient satisfaction. Trust between primary and specialty care clinicians translates into smoother transitions between care settings, improved care coordination, and a shared focus on the patient’s best interests. Patients appreciate the collaborative efforts of their healthcare providers, feeling heard, supported, and confident in the team-based care they receive. The result? Trust-driven collaboration that enhances patient satisfaction and fosters positive patient-clinician relationships.
  3. Create an environment that fosters learning and growth. Primary care teams use eConsults to fill in major cost-saving gaps seen today, like improving speed to care and avoiding unnecessary referrals. But there are also other meaningful applications of rapid specialty insights. Recent studies assessing the impact of eConsults underscore that PCPs not only cultivate more robust relationships with specialists but also deliver educational responses that provide teaching in multiple areas of their practice, and support learning that extends beyond the patient case at hand. When clinicians feel supported and respected by their colleagues, they are more likely to have greater job satisfaction, which leads to improved morale and mindfulness, reduced burnout rates, and increased retention of skilled clinicians within the healthcare system.

Build your trusted network with RubiconMD

At RubiconMD, we aim to build trust between primary care teams and our network of specialists. Our panel of board-certified experts across 140+ specialties are leaders in their fields, and they provide the best evidence-based guidance to clinicians across the country. Here are some new ways we can work together to improve patient outcomes: 

  • Within our eConsult+ platform, PCPs get to know their specialists through every interaction. The new Specialist Profile feature, launched in May 2023, has been lauded by primary care platform users as a great addition that improves satisfaction by over 60%. By capturing important details like the specialist’s name, credentials, and eligible specialties, along with how many eConsults they’ve completed and how other PCPs rated them, primary care teams can feel confident that they are getting the highest quality responses.
  • The next generation of eConsults, ProConsult+, is helping national PCP clients deliver more efficiency and comprehensive care at scale. This evolution of RubiconMD’s core product enables a more proactive, programmatic approach to chronic care for a targeted group of patients. ProConsult+; provides tailored insights from the trusted specialist network to support disease management programs, quality initiatives, and population health efforts. Our most popular ProConsult+  programs are being used for uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions.
  • ProConsult+ features an option that allows PCPs to engage a multispecialty team of specialists who collaborate on a synthesized recommendation. For example, a cardiologist, endocrinologist, and clinical pharmacist can all review, weigh in, and dialogue on what the optimal next steps are for a particular patient, expediting the process of delivering coordinated advice on complex patient cases.

In the context of healthcare, “it takes a village” means that providing comprehensive and effective patient care requires the collective efforts, knowledge, and skills of multiple healthcare professionals, support staff, and technology resources. RubiconMD will continue to connect PCPs to critical specialty insights in the pursuit of improving access to equitable healthcare for all. 

To learn how RubiconMD can partner with your organization contact us today.

Learn more

Preview of whitepaper PDF

Download the White Paper

See how proactive use of eConsults for diabetes management reduced population health A1c by 1.5% and reduced referrals per visit by 15%.