Connected Medicine: Enhancing Primary Care Access to Specialist Consult

Canadians often wait for specialist care after referral from a primary care provider. In the 2016 Commonwealth Fund Survey, Canada placed last on a measure of specialist access among the 11 countries surveyed, with 56% of Canadians reporting waiting four weeks or longer to see a specialist.1

In June 2017, CFHI launched the Connected Medicine Collaborative in partnership with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), Canada Health Infoway (Infoway), and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (The Royal College), with expert support throughout by the Champlain BASE™ and Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE)™ innovators.

Connected Medicine Teams

A total of 11 improvement teams participated in the collaborative which spread two leading Canadian innovations* that improve access to specialist advice by allowing primary care providers, such as family doctors and nurse practitioners, to ask specialists patient care questions through secure digital technology and telephone services.

As a result, patients can benefit from care in their community and closer to home, while also maintaining the confidence and comfort of their relationship with their primary healthcare provider.

Last Updated: July 2019

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1Canadian Institute for Health Information. Wait Times for Priority Procedures in Canada, 2016. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2016.