Robert McLaughlin, MD

Head and Neck Surgery, North Valley

Specialty Care Access

“The real heroes are the doctors who make time to involve their patients in care coordination and the specialists who work together to provide immediate advice and ensure access for our patients every day.”

To understand the spirit with which Dr. McLaughlin tackled the challenge of improving specialty care access, consider his motto: “If you don’t fall, you aren’t skiing hard enough.” “While rethinking specialty care from the patient’s perspective, I fell so many times,” he relates. “But it was worth it, because one of our patient-centered experiments evolved into pConsult.”

That experiment, conducted in the North Valley departments of Head and Neck Surgery, Neurology and Medicine in 2009, proved the value of a phone call. Building on the existing eConsult platform, Dr. McLaughlin and his colleagues demonstrated that with our integrated system of care, many problems that previously would have generated a request for a specialty appointment could be handled more efficiently or even resolved completely if the referring physician called the specialist for advice while the patient was in the exam room. Patients were thrilled to have their fears allayed and their problems solved in such a novel manner.

Based on the success of the pConsult pilot, over the next six months Dr. McLaughlin and his team consulted with physiciansin more than 20 departments throughout the North Valley, helping them tailor processes to implement pConsult and provide better care and access to their patients.

Starting in 2010, Dr. McLaughlin began travelling around the region, to share the benefits of pConsult and same-day consultations. Thanks to his vision and perseverance, and to the power of group excellence, patients throughout KP Northern California now experience consistently outstanding and timely access to specialty care.