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Connecting Specialists and Primary Care Physicians

Michael Flynn, team leadProject CORE is one of those rare programs that excites specialists and primary care physicians alike.

Sponsored by the Medical Group and AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), it is a collaboration between primary care and specialty physicians that uses an automated e-consult format to communicate and improve patient care. The program acknowledges shared care coordination needs: ongoing communication between providers and improved patient access to clinics.

Currently in its second year, Project CORE has surpassed expectations set by the AAMC and the team tasked with its success: Michael Flynn, Heather Hamblin, and Erin McCormack. Eighty-five percent of e-consults avoid a referral, keeping patients in their medical home, decreasing curbside visits, freeing clinic space, and reducing the need for patients to make multiple appointments.

“We are building new and better relationships with our primary care providers,” said Blake Hamilton, a urologist who has embraced the program. “As the receiving physician, it allows me to extend my expertise through the primary care provider to care for more patients. We also can get a sense of what topics need more education for our front line teams.”

One provider noted the program was particularly helpful for her geriatric patients since transportation to subspecialists is often very challenging for her patients.

What is Project CORE?

Project CORE improves specialty-primary communication by focusing on three pillars. E-consults prevent unnecessary referrals through the creation of templates that are co-designed between specialists and primary care providers. Enhanced referrals set expectations for co-managing patients and help specialists understand why a patient is being referred. Education is encouraged by CME events that bring specialists and primary care providers together to learn.