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Primary Care Provider Experience With Proactive E-Consults to Improve COPD Outcomes and Access to Specialty Care.

Spece LJ, Weppner WG, Weiner BJ, Collins M, Adamson R, Berger DB, Nelson KM, McDowell J, Epler E, Carvalho PG, Woo DM, Donovan LM, Feemster LC, Au DH, Sayre G. Primary Care Provider Experience With Proactive E-Consults to Improve COPD Outcomes and Access to Specialty Care. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (Miami, Fla.). 2023 Jan 25; 10(1):46-54.

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BACKGROUND: Often patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) receive poor quality care with limited access to pulmonologists. We tested a novel intervention, INtegrating Care After Exacerbation of COPD (InCasE), that improved patient outcomes after hospitalization for COPD. InCasE used population-based identification of patients for proactive e-consultation by pulmonologists, and tailored recommendations with pre-populated orders timed to follow-up with primary care providers (PCPs). Although adoption by PCPs was high, we do not know how PCPs experienced the intervention. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to assess PCPs' experience with proactive pulmonary e-consults after hospitalization for COPD. METHODS: We conducted a convergent mixed methods study among study PCPs at 2 medical centers and 10 outpatient clinics. PCPs underwent semi-structured interviews and surveys. We performed descriptive analyses on quantitative data and inductive and deductive coding based on prespecified themes of acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility for qualitative data. KEY RESULTS: We conducted 10 interviews and 37 PCPs completed surveys. PCPs perceived InCasE to be acceptable and feasible. Facilitators included the proactive consult approach to patient identification and order entry. PCPs also noted the intervention was respectful and collegial. PCPs had concerns regarding appropriateness related to an unclear role in communicating recommendations to patients. PCPs also noted a potential decrease in autonomy if overused. CONCLUSION: This evaluation indicates that a proactive e-consult intervention can be deployed to collaboratively manage the health of populations with COPD in a way that is acceptable, appropriate, and feasible for primary care. Lessons learned from this study suggest the intervention may be transferable to other settings and specialties.

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