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Specialist LINK: Linking Calgary-area physicians together to improve patient care
Specialist LINK connects family doctors and specialists through a real-time tele-advice line. Calls are returned within one hour.
In addition to offering tele-advice line, clinical care pathways can also be downloaded from this website.
The goal of these services is ultimately to improve patient care. The tele-advice line and clinical care pathways help improve communication and collaboration between primary and specialty care. They also improve access and have resulted in shorter wait times for specialists, a reduction in unnecessary specialty visits and large cost-savings. The tele-advice line alone is estimated to have saved the health care system almost $1 million in its first four years of operation.
Both services were developed thanks to a unique partnership between Alberta Health Services, the seven Calgary and area Primary Care Networks and specialists. The first tele-advice phone line, which offered gastroenterology advice, was launched in late 2014. Family doctors immediately started seeing the benefits of collaborating with a specialist to confirm treatment plans. The tele-advice line quickly expanded to include chronic pain, endocrinology, hepatology, neurology, pediatrics, respiratory and rheumatology. It continues to grow and add new specialties.
What doctors are saying about this service:
"The best and most brilliant resource offered through the PCN."
"Excellent, fantastic, great, helpful service.”
“Response was quick and I found a quick effective resolution to my question: No CT required.”
“The speed of return call, 30 minutes, was exactly what the target time was. Appropriate enough to keep the patient in my clinic in order to implement the specialist suggestion without risking a gap in communication later on…”
“It helped alleviate physician anxiety/worry.”
“Helped me decide which was the means of referral – ie. right place, right specialty.”
“Helped deliver further evaluation of complicated case.”