eConsult - tools we like for frontline primary care

We frequently get questions from physician colleagues, government organizations, and health start ups on what tools we like to use. We’ll share a few tools we like over the next few weeks

eConsult is a service that we access through OTNhub.

What is it to us

We as family doctors can ask a specialist doctor a clinical question about a patient over a secure web portal.

We usually get a response in 2-3 days, sometimes within the same business day.

How often do we use it?

We generally use it a few times a month.

Why should the stakeholders care

Patients

  • Better access to the knowledge and experience of specialist physician
  • Get tests and treatments faster - Instead or waiting sometimes for several months to see a specialist for a medical opinion, a family doctor with the help of specialists can start treatment right away and get tests set up
  • Less travel, less time off work

Family Doctors

  • Better patient care - Your patients get the help they need faster
  • Worry less - The faster your patients get the care they need, the less you worry about them getting worse. You can “close the loop” more quickly.
  • System navigation - Get help when you just need someone to show you where and how to access a resource that your patient needs. For example, where is that amazing falls clinic?
  • Fee code - There is a small fee code associated with initiating an eConsult

Specialist Doctors

From the specialist physicians that we’ve spoken to:

  • Increase work flexibility - Answer questions anywhere there is internet access and at anytime of the day
  • Increase the percentage of patients you actually need to see in person in your limited clinic hours
  • Fee Code - There is a small fee code associated with answering an eConsult

System / Ministry of Health

  • Decrease specialist wait times, a goal of our local LHIN
  • More efficient use of finite specialist time
  • Decrease travel funding for remote communities
  • It takes us closer to digital coordinated integrated care

Our message: highlighting things that work for family doctors and should continue to be funded and developed

It’s important to highlight programs that improve the lives of patients and increase the efficiency of front line physicians. eConsult is such a program and we hope that it continues to be developed in the future.