Which Encounter Type should be used for Specialty Outreach Services?

Question: Which ad hoc (unscheduled) outpatient encounter type best fits the needs of patient visits (virtual or in-person) that are part of a specialty outreach service?

Context: Specialty health services may be based in an organization using Connect Care as the record of care, yet provide consultative services to community or facility locations elsewhere. Services might include telephone consultative support to clinicians at other (usually rural) facilities, telehealth virtual visits, or drop-in in-person visits to assist with the care of selected patients; all as part of outreach from the central service requiring service documentation in Connect Care.

Outreach appointments may be scheduled or otherwise organized by the remote location (e.g., primary care network) and so not involve Connect Care support staff for appointment management. In such cases, ad hoc (unscheduled) outpatient visits are needed and clinicians may wonder which visit type to select when creating a new encounter in their specialty department.

Answer: If Connect Care is the record of care for part, but not all, of an integrated health service program, it may be appropriate to use Connect Care integrative charting tools (e.g., therapy plans, care paths, disease management documentation, SmartSets) to manage and document related care. A "Documentation" visit can be created if the outreach support need is limited to generating and sharing a consultation letter. More commonly, the "Telemedicine" visit type works best for outreach services because it benefits from specialty-specific visit, order and documentation tools in Connect Care.