CORE set to improve patient accessibility

August 9, 2016  //  FOUND IN: News,

World-class specialists within the U-M Medical Group are often a resource for our primary care providers who turn to the specialists when patients need a higher level of care.

That’s why the health system is launching the Coordinating Optimal Referral Experience, or CORE project, on Aug. 11.

CORE is designed to improve the patient experience by providing a streamlined approach to care, improved appointment access and increased collaboration between primary care providers and specialists.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with six other academic medical centers, all of whom are part of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Those institutions are also looking to improve the patient care experience. They include the University of Washington, Ohio State University, East Carolina University, Vidant Health, Wake Forest University and Greenville Health.

“The CORE project is one of many initiatives at UMHS we are working on to improve patient access,” said Connie Standiford, MD, professor of internal medicine and a key member of the team implementing CORE at U-M.

CORE has two components: eConsults and enhanced referrals. Both of these innovations will be launched on Aug. 11 in three UMMG departments: Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Neurology and Rheumatology. The project will be rolled out to other services and specialties over time.

The first CORE component, eConsults, is a resource for internal primary care physicians only. When the physician feels that he or she can manage a patient with a low-acuity condition with some guidance from a specialist through the electronic medical record, an eConsult is ideal.

An eConsult is beneficial as it can be carried out instead of a specialty office visit. Previously, low-acuity patients would often have to wait a significant period of time for a specialty visit (clinics are very busy and they prioritize more acutely-ill patients when it comes to scheduling).

Through eConsults, a primary care physician will receive feedback from a specialist through the patient’s EMR within 72 business hours. This expedites patient care and provides significant time and cost savings for everyone involved. 

The other element of CORE, enhanced referrals, provides guidance to our referring providers. Through this resource, specialists can more clearly lay out the specific work-up they recommend prior to seeing a patient. “By doing this, a patient’s initial visit with a specialist can be more productive, reduce the need for return visits and improve the overall patient experience,” Dr. Standiford said.

“We are very excited about these new innovative ways to utilize the EMR and take care of our patients,” Dr. Standiford said.

For additional information on the CORE program, please visit the Ambulatory Care Services website.