WoW Health Solutions, a U.S.-based international healthcare company, and AristaMD, a digital health company, announced the availability of electronic physician-to-physician consultations in Pakistan.
WoW Health Solutions is addressing the limited availability of specialty care by enabling its physicians in Islamabad, Pakistan to request eConsult, also known as electronic physician-to-physician consultations, from U.S.-based specialists. The relationship will further AristaMD’s vision of providing all patients with timely, cost-effective access to healthcare.
“Our mission is to make healthcare transparent, affordable, and accessible to all patients,” says Dr. Jawad Arshad, Emergency Medicine Physician & CEO of WoW Health Solutions. “Our Pakistani physicians and patients seek advice from oncologists and cardiologists as well as physicians with expert knowledge in other specialties. We chose to work with AristaMD because of the company’s innovative approach to specialty care. eConsults are a fast, effective way of obtaining confirmation of a diagnosis or treatment plan or a second opinion.”
The medical advice provided by electronic physician-to-physician consultation will supplement the limited availability of specialists in-country. The World Bank reports there are 1.1 physicians per one 1,000 people in Pakistan versus 2.6 physicians per 1,000 people in the U.S.
“There is a significant need for specialist advice due to an overall shortage of physicians, particularly oncologists,” says Arshad. “Oncology consultations will inform treatment options based on the type of cancer diagnosed. Physician-to-physician consults will allow the physicians in Pakistan to provide better service and help us grow the direct primary care model in this market.”
In a direct primary care model, patients pay a monthly fee directly to the physician. In most cases, these patients don’t have health insurance or don’t have access to insurance. The monthly fee covers the primary care consultations. eConsults will enable these physicians to request second opinions or additional guidance about a treatment plan. For example, a cardiology consultation may provide guidance on whether the patient should consider bypass surgery, a stent, or a specific medication.
“Pakistan also has a high incidence of cardiovascular disease,” says Arshad. “With access to expert advice from a board-certified specialist, our doctors gain feedback about the patient’s treatment in cardiology, oncology, and other specialties. We also believe this will give their patients additional confidence in the diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.”
AristaMD’s eConsult and referral management platform facilitates collaboration between healthcare providers to expedite time to treatment, decrease costs and drive better patient outcomes. The WoW Health physicians trained in mid-March to request eConsults, will use the platform to improve patient outcomes related to several specialties. However, cardiology and oncology consultations are the program’s initial focus. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 25% of Pakistan’s population over the age of 40 suffers from cardiovascular diseases. The estimate is driven by the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, and more than forty percent of adult males are smokers.
“Requests for cardiology and oncology eConsults grew by 18% and 24% respectively from 2020-2021,” says Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD. “Providers are now more comfortable requesting feedback electronically, since the pandemic forced providers to leverage technology. Physician shortages and increased demand for healthcare services will drive continued growth. Like the U.S., Pakistan is experiencing growing demand for patient care and a lack of physicians. We are pleased to support timely, cost-effective access to healthcare wherever it is needed.”
WoW Health Solutions expects to make eConsults available to all their physicians in Pakistan. In the U.S., the company operates a comprehensive direct-pay marketplace that allows users to shop and access healthcare directly from medical providers who can offer their services at a steep discount because they are guaranteed their payments without having to submit any claims or paperwork.
“AristaMD is excited to offer our service internationally,” says LeVasseur. “Our eConsult and referral management services lower healthcare costs and expedite care. AristaMD’s eConsult solution empowers physicians to expand their scope and collaborate on patient care with a world-class panel of on-demand specialists from anywhere in the world.”