Evaluation of PARC eConsults Pilot: Summative Report

Evaluation of PARC eConsults Pilot: Summative Report

Published: Dec 11, 2023
Publisher: Mathematica
Associated Project

Project Arkansas eConsultations: Bridging Primary and Specialty Care Through eConsults

Time frame: 2020 – 2023

Prepared for:

Peterson Center on Healthcare


David Wittenburg

The Peterson Center on Healthcare, in collaboration with Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, initiated Project Arkansas eConsultations (PARC). An eConsult is an asynchronous consultation system that enables primary care providers to seek input from specialists on specific clinical questions using an electronic platform for exchanging patients' clinical information.

eConsults can alleviate the need for physical face-to-face consultations with specialists, which can in turn expedite care, reduce cost, and enhance accessibility, particularly in remote or underserved areas. 

The purpose of this report is to summarize the participation patterns and outcomes of patients whose primary care providers received eConsults on their behalf. This report uses private commercial data to examine the characteristics of practices and patients who received eConsults, providing insights into the differences between e-Consult recipients and other patients. It presents the outcomes of eConsult recipients by comparing them to patients with similar characteristics at non-implementation practices in Arkansas (i.e., practices who did not make eConsults referrals). These comparisons offer an estimation of the impact of eConsults on key outcomes related to expenditures and utilization, furthering our understanding of how this system can contribute to cost-saving measures within the healthcare landscape.

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