The issue of long wait times for specialist care is one of the most significant problems facing healthcare in Canada. These waits are particularly concerning because patients may “face the greatest wait-related risk at the earlier phases of care, before the disease has been conclusively diagnosed and a treatment plan established.”1

To help address this issue, in June, 2017, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) launched a new 15-month quality improvement 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). The collaborative aims to support participating healthcare delivery organizations implement remote consult solutions to improve primary care access to specialist consultation, with the long-term goal of improving access to specialty care.

 Connected Medicine

Connected Medicine: Enhancing Primary Care Access to Specialist Consult
A 15-Month Quality Improvement Collaborative

A total of 11 improvement teams across Canada were accepted into the collaborative and will receive funding, coaching, educational materials and tools to support the design, implementation and evaluation of a remote consult service in their jurisdiction. The collaborative focuses on spreading two leading Canadian innovations that have demonstrably improved primary healthcare access to specialist consultation services.

Connected Medicine Collaborative Teams »

Champlain BASE™ eConsult ServiceChamplain BASE™eConsult Service (BASE™), a secure web-based eConsult service launched within the Champlain Local Health Integration Network in Ontario.

An interview with the physician founders of Champlain BASE™ eConsult Service »



Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE™), a telephone advice line launched at Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health.

Models of care such as BASE™ and RACE™ demonstrate that remote consult can effectively reduce wait times to see a specialist by enabling primary care providers to more efficiently manage their patients in a primary care setting.

This collaborative builds on the 2016–17 Connected Medicine e-collaborative, in which 10 teams from across Canada and internationally came together to develop business cases and strategies to implement remote consult services in their jurisdictions. This second collaborative also focuses on cross pollination among 11 teams to ensure that when the collaborative is complete there is a community of practice for participants to draw upon for long-term sustainability.

Connected Medicine Partner Logos

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