eConsult is a tool that provides physicians and nurse practitioners with timely access to specialist advice and often eliminates the need to send patients for an in-person specialist visit. Through a private and secure web portal, requesting providers can send a specialist a clinical question about their patient and receive advice quickly and securely.
The Ontario eConsult Program
The Ontario eConsult Program has been created to enable timely and equitable access to specialist advice for all patients in Ontario. The program, with the support of the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, integrates two successful initiatives: BASE™ Managed Specialty Service and the Ontario Telemedicine Network's (OTN) Direct to Specialist Service.
Accessed primarily through the secure OTNhub, the program is led by the Ontario eConsult Centre of Excellence (eConsult COE), housed at The Ottawa Hospital in partnership with the Bruyère Research Institute. Regional partners include Champlain BASE™ (Building Access to Specialists through eConsultation) and the South East Academic Medical Organization (SEAMO). Service delivery partners are the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), OntarioMD, and eHealth Ontario, with the support of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
eConsult offers health care system benefits
- Care supported by a program that is fast, efficient and protects their privacy.
- Quick access to quality specialist advice, wherever they live in Ontario. Evidence shows patient safety is improved through timely access to specialist advice.
- Saves time and resources, as only about one third of eConsults result in patients needing to see a specialist face-to-face.
Physicians and nurse practitioners:
- Timely answers to non-urgent questions (eConsult average response time is two days).
- Improved care coordination and collaboration between clinicians.
- Opportunities to enhance learning and manage patient cases at the family practice level, where patient trust is often highest.
- A regional focus to maintain communities of practice where possible.
- Can offer prompt, high quality communication to requesting providers.
- Opportunities for knowledge sharing.
- Offers liability protection through the permanent written record of advice provided.
eConsult by the Numbers
- 13,000+ Family Physicians
79,000+ eConsults sent since January 2015
976 Specialists in 100+ specialties
2 Days average eConsult response Time
Top 5 Specialities Requested
- Endocrinology and Metabolism
- Obstetrics and Gynecology