Participants will explore the development of two eConsult services in Ontario: the Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialists through eConsultation) eConsult service and the Provincial eConsult Initiative. Participants will receive an overview of how both services work and how interested healthcare providers can enroll. Presenters will discuss their experiences implementing eConsult services, describe what measures should be considered when planning service development (e.g. wait times for regional specialists, local access needs), and provide a look at the latest usage data.
Participants will receive resources supporting the implementation of eConsult services in new jurisdictions.
Excessive wait times for specialist appointments pose a significant barrier to patient care. Electronic consultation (eConsult) services can address this issue by improving access to specialists. This presentation discusses two eConsult services launched in Ontario: the Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialists through eConsultation) eConsult service and the Provincial eConsult Initiative.
Champlain BASE has enrolled 1,040 primary care providers (PCP), including 879 family doctors and 160 nurse practitioners, and offered access to 86 specialty groups, the largest menu of specialties available from any such service worldwide. The eConsult team conducted a cross-sectional study of all eConsult cases submitted from April 2011 to March 2016 in order to describe the utilization and impact of the service. The Champlain BASE eConsult model demonstrated sustained high user uptake and impact on access to specialist advice.
The Provincial eConsult Initiative is conducting a proof-of-concept of its service and is building on the experiences of the Champlain BASE service. Primary care teams in the pilot regions have acknowledged in a benefits evaluation and recent survey that eConsult is a welcome innovation that provides better access and equity to specialist resources.
These innovative solutions have leveled the playing field for access to specialist advice, especially in underserved areas. Provider satisfaction with both services is high. Our lessons learned and results can be used to inform other regions interested in implementing similar systems. Ongoing research includes policy development, economic impact, education opportunities and patient perspective.