We spend a lot of our time at RubiconMD thinking about how to make our products best fit clinicians’ workflows and practice settings. Whether it is empowering PCPs with our flagship eConsult platform, or expanding into new offerings like Behavioral Health, our core mission is to innovate for primary care clinicians, who are oftentimes asked to do more for their patients, with fewer or limited resources.
To see this in action, we sat down with Dr. JD Steed of Walden Direct Primary Care to discuss how he has used eConsults to improve and grow his practice (and congratulate him on reaching his 100 eConsult milestone!). Dr. Steed began his career as a family doctor and Clinic Chief at Moody Air Force Base, and then served as a family physician and medical director in Belleview, Florida. Today, Dr. Steed manages his own Direct Primary Care practice and serves patients every day, managing their conditions and utilizing RubiconMD to help them get quick, educational specialist insights to improve their care plan and overall experience.
RubiconMD: How did you learn about eConsults and why did you decide to give them a try?
Dr. Steed: I was encouraged to give eConsults a try after a friend suggested it would be a good resource for my patients and practice. To be honest, I wasn’t sure about it at first, but after a few months of submitting my questions on RubiconMD it became something I was frequently offering patients. I was able to get answers about their clinical cases within days…sometimes even hours.
RubiconMD: Was there a specific question or patient case that was the turning point for you?
Dr. Steed: There is one story I like to tell all the time. I had a male patient come into the clinic at about 10AM with a kind of blister on his ear, called a seroma. I wasn’t sure about the best next step for him, so I submitted an eConsult to RubiconMD. I took a picture of the blister and that same morning I received an answer on how to drain the seroma. The specialist not only helped my diagnosis with what was on his ear, but also provided educational insight on the best practice for draining it. I was able to call back my patient that same day and treat him. Now, I tell patients if I am submitting to RubiconMD that I will follow up with them in a day, but most of the time, I get an answer within hours.
RubiconMD: It sounds like you have been able to add a lot of value to your patients, what about RubiconMD has helped you as a clinician?
Dr. Steed: Here’s one of the things I love the best about RubiconMD…in the old days when I would have a question or a problem, I would go to a textbook and I would look it up. After doing some reading, I would then try to figure out how to apply what I learned to that specific patient.
Now, there are more educational resources online, but the same problem applies – I need to interpret any general information I find to a specific patient. With RubiconMD eConsults, that problem is solved. When I submit an eConsult, I can paint a picture of an individual patient, I can outline the nuances of their disease, their care setting, etc. and I can decide the best next step based on the specialists’ advice. By doing this, I am learning, and I am getting nuanced answers, which no textbook can provide for me.
RubiconMD: Do you find that there are some eConsults you submit that have taught you things that you have been able to apply broadly [to multiple patients]?
Dr. Steed: Yes. I save all these things and I will reference them. I'll say ‘Oh I remember that eConsult from last month was about testosterone… I'm going to bookmark it for later.’ It really has become a great referencing resource, and we have developed a protocol on how we treat testosterone based on a RubiconMD eConsult. Maybe it is becoming like a textbook to me too!
RubiconMD: If you were to tell another clinician to try RubiconMD, what would you say to them?
Dr. Steed: I would just tell them to give it a try! eConsults honestly speak for themselves once you start utilizing them. They are a way to get both individualized answers for your patients, and can broadly improve the way you treat certain conditions.