OTTAWA, ONTARIO, August 14, 2014 — CHEO is launching a new eConsult service that will help shorten wait times and improve access to medical expertise.
The eConsult technology, offered by the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), allows for a more efficient consultation process between physicians and specialists on behalf of their patients. For patients and family physicians in CHEO’s catchment area, it can mean faster access to expertise in Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Chronic Pain, General Pediatrics, Genetics, Hematology/Oncology, Neurology, Orthopedics, Palliative Care, Psychiatry, Radiology and Respirology.
“What used to take weeks or months for an elective consultation can now be done in minutes, relieving the stress of patient families and physicians, in the community and beyond,” says CHEO cardiologist Dr. Lillian Lai, a lead on the initiative. “eConsult also creates a higher quality of care, as it becomes an educational tool, allowing physicians to access insight from specialists and share this new knowledge with their peers.”
Physicians have reported high levels of satisfaction with eConsult. In its pilot phase, over 400 eConsults were completed, with results indicating 43% of the cases resulted in avoidance of an unnecessary referral for the patient, which in turn has shortened the wait times for others.
“Better connecting care within and beyond our walls is an important goal for CHEO so we’re excited this technology will allow a family’s doctor and a CHEO specialist to work together as a team to help kids be their healthiest,” says CHEO President and CEO Alex Munter. “This will be a benefit to patients in Ottawa but especially to those in eastern and northern Ontario, allowing families to get an exceptional CHEO patient experience without having to make a trip into the city.”
The Champlain BASE* eConsult service was originally launched in 2010 as a collaborative effort between the Champlain LHIN, Bruyère Research Institute, The Ottawa Hospital, and the Winchester District Memorial Hospital to allow physicians and specialists to communicate directly and securely with each other online. As of July 1, 2014, over 3400 cases have been processed through this service with response from specialists within 2 days on average. 443 family doctors and nurse practitioners have been registered and can access 48 different specialties.
“One of the Champlain LHIN’s main strategies is to improve coordination of the health system and transitions of care for clients,” says Chantale LeClerc, CEO of the Champlain LHIN. “Through this program, primary-care providers can communicate more easily with specialists, and that means patients benefit. The LHIN has worked closely with partners to develop the program, and continues to support its innovative approach.”
The aim of the Champlain LHIN is to help coordinate health services so that people receive the care they need and deserve in a timely way. CHEO is a pediatric health and research centre providing outstanding family-centred patient care, pioneering breakthrough research, and training the health care professionals of tomorrow.
* BASE: Building Access to Specialists through eConsultation
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