Press Release

WISE Healthcare workflow engineering improves access to patient care for Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) Members—attains 15,000 eConsults.

July 24, 2019

REDLANDS, CA: WISE Healthcare (WISE), a healthcare solutions and technology provider, is proud to announce that its workflow engineering team working on the Multi-County eConsult Initiative (MCeI) has achieved more than 15,000 eConsults for IEHP members since 2018, with over 5,000 eConsults in the last three months.

WHAT: What is an eConsult? eConsult enables primary care providers to communicate with physician specialists to help coordinate access to specialist care. eConsult in other healthcare systems, such as Los Angeles County, has resulted in reduced wait times for appointments and in many cases addressed the needs of the patient in the primary care setting, without requiring a visit to a specialist.  Similar to Los Angeles County, the eConsult process, the dialog between primary care providers and specialists, is required in order to determine the medical need for a face to face visit with a specialist.

WHO: IEHP selected WISE Healthcare to design, implement and support eConsult, using an eConsult technology platform called, Converge™, that was developed by Newport Beach based Safety-Net Connect—a healthcare technology company. In 2018, WISE launched MCeI in collaboration with Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Riverside University Health System, and all of IEHP directly contracted clinics. To date, 240 primary care physicians and residents, 167 specialist reviewers and 63 clinic sites, including correctional facilities, are using the eConsult to coordinate care, with anticipated growth to over 150 clinic sites in the next year. Currently, about 25% of patients are able to get specialist guided care from their primary care physicians without having to wait for a specialist visit, leaving an opportunity for the rest to have earlier appointments for needed in person specialty care.

HOW: Using its proprietary approach based in LEAN and Design Thinking called Innovation Change Approach (INCA), WISE workflow engineers worked hands on with the two county hospitals and numerous clinics and medical offices throughout the Inland Empire to incorporate eConsult into their referral workflows. WISE workflow engineers’ (WFEs) work entailed evaluating the current state of the referral process and electronic health record for each setting, identifying the future state process needed to successfully use eConsult, and providing training and support for staff. Workflow redesign was vital in preparing clinics to effectively use eConsult in the diverse healthcare delivery settings.

“Every site requires a customized approach,” noted WISE Chief Executive Officer Sajid Ahmed. “I am impressed with the level of engagement from the doctors and referral coordinators. They genuinely share IEHP’s commitment to improve access to specialty care for their patients.” Primary care physician Arthur E. Jimenez, MD, agrees, noting, “The transition to eConsult was not always easy, especially for my busy clinic. However, I appreciate the value that it brings to my patients. They are enjoying faster access to specialty care.”

WHY: The purpose of the program is to increase access to quality care for low-income residents in the Inland Empire, an area that has long been overwhelmed with the volume of patients seeking access to specialty care. “I am proud of the tremendous progress we have made,” stated IEHP Chief Medical Officer Jennifer N. Sayles. “Reaching 15,000 eConsults is a milestone for us. We can see our efforts are already improving healthcare delivery access for those most in need. I look forward to continued progress, we could not achieve this without our community of primary care providers.” Sayles noted that IEHP has invested approximately $5 million to design, implement and support the use of eConsult in the two counties that make up the Inland Empire.

About WISE (WORKFLOW, INNOVATION, SCIENCE, AND ENGINEERING)

WISE Healthcare delivers programs in artificial intelligence, virtual care and workflow engineering that improve healthcare and support both providers and patients. WISE specializes in providing a better approach to technology implementation. To best leverage health information technology, WISE uses a proprietary method called Innovation Change Approach (INCA) to achieve faster innovations and successful adoption of new healthcare business and delivery processes. The WISE Team understands the impact of new technologies on current healthcare practices and helps organizations to develop a customized strategy by working with internal and external stakeholders and implementing new processes and systems. WISE team members and its service partners have more than 25 years of healthcare experience in deploying new healthcare programs, implementing healthcare technologies and preparing organizations for the changing healthcare landscape.