Credentials of Corresponding Author
Acute and chronic digestive diseases are a huge public health problem leading to substantial morbidity, mortality, and cost in the United States. Digestive disease is the primary diagnosis in a total of 66.4 million ambulatory care visits to physicians’ offices and hospital emergency and outpatient departments in the United States each year [Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 2020].
The purpose of conducting the literature review was to communicate how collaborative models of practice such as telehealth model would improve interactive communication between primary care physician (PCP) and digestive specialists. The review work was initiated based on a real case scenario, in which a 52 yr. old female patient communicated how she had to endure sufferings due to chronic digestive disease for over two years. The patient has made multiple appointments with her PCP & gastroenterologists and had undergone many laboratory and diagnostic tests. Despite many advancements in medical field, this case study unfolds an important issue of gap in the PCP and specialist collaboration/interactive communication leading to conflicting diagnosis, and poor treatment outcomes.
The search for current, 2015-2020, peer-reviewed articles were conducted. The databases included PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and PubMed Central. The search terms used were primary care physician and specialist collaboration, collaborative models of practice, interactive communication, and digestive diseases.
Results of literature search
The search yielded 7 studies that focused on collaborative models of care between PCP and specialists. 4 articles focused on using telehealth model as a collaborative tool.
Synthesis of evidence
The synthesis of the relevant literature revealed various collaborative models of care such as memory clinic, E-consult, shared electronic health record, clinical pathways, and telehealth. Telehealth model that are employed by the PCP and specialist reduced the wait time for appointments, improved provider consultation, interdisciplinary consultation/collaboration and care coordination, patient education, follow up phone calls, patient satisfaction, cost for care, and patient recovery.
Implications for practice
Collaboration between primary care physician and digestive disease specialists is considered crucial to provide high quality health care. Telehealth model has the potential to improve current models of care by increasing communication among clinicians, resulting in more efficient, higher quality, and less expensive digestive care.
Utilizing Telehealth Model of Practice to Improve Collaboration Between Primary Care Physicians and Specialist for Digestive Disease Outcomes