Major Cost Savings Associated with VHA E-Consults
A study across the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) shows that e-consults improve access to specialty care, shorten wait times, and reduce outpatient visits. Across 11 specialties, patients receiving an e-consult had significantly lower health care costs compared with patients receiving a face-to-face consultation. This was largely driven by differences in outpatient costs. Patients receiving an e-consult had significantly lower outpatient costs ranging from 6.9% (endocrinology) to 31.2% (hematology) lower. Electronic specialty consultations are a potential mechanism to reduce health care costs and promote the efficient use of health care resources.