On Call Innovation Conversation

The Specialist is Always In: Better patient care through remote consultation

Held March 8, 2017



Did you know?

  • Remote consultation is quickly emerging as an effective solution for enhancing primary care access to specialist consult and improving provider-to-provider communication.
  • Clinicians in primary care are gaining access to timely advice from specialists, thanks to the simplicity of sending an e-communication, picking up the phone or even launching an app.
  • CFHI is launching a new collaborative to support healthcare organizations to spread and scale proven, evidence-informed remote consultation solutions.

Consider this …

Limited access to specialty care – long waits and inequitable availability – remains a major barrier to care for patients and primary care providers across Canada. The use of remote consultations can help address this issue.

Remote consultation is a provider-to-provider advice and communication model through an electronic (eConsult), telephone and/or mobile application (app) platform to facilitate communication between healthcare providers about patient care. Using remote consultation, primary care clinicians and specialists can communicate with each other at times that are convenient to their professional schedules. As a result, patients have more convenient access to specialists, shorter waits, less travel, and improved continuity of care. At the systems level, remote consultation can provide appropriate care at a lower cost by reducing the need for in-person specialist appointments. 

Early adopters of remote consultation have enjoyed positive experiences. However, promising innovations in Canadian healthcare such as this all too often remain isolated pockets of excellence. Any organization working to improve patient care, health outcomes and value-for-money should ask: “What’s out there that works?”

Connected Medicine is a new 15-month collaborative being launched in 2017 by CFHI 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 (Royal College). The goal of the collaborative is to support healthcare delivery organizations to test, implement and scale remote consult services, and ultimately improve provider-to-provider communication and access to care. This collaborative builds on the work of 2016’s Connected Medicine: Enhancing Access to Specialist Consult e-Collaborative, where 10 teams from across Canada and internationally came together to develop a business case and strategy to implement remote consultation solutions in their jurisdictions.

Join us as we:

  • discuss the issue of timely access to specialist care and profile some of the leading Canadian innovations that are achieving Quadruple Aim improvements in this area
  • introduce CFHI’s new 15-month Connected Medicine collaborative – its delivery format, content, activities and faculty
  • help organizations assess their readiness to apply for the collaborative, based on enrollment criteria.

Be part of the conversation!

This interactive, informative On Call session will introduce participants to the new Connected Medicine collaborative and outline how organizations can benefit from funding and support to implement their own remote consultation solutions.


Clare Liddy PhotoDr. Clare Liddy
Clare Liddy is a Clinical Investigator at the C.T. Lamont Primary Health Care Research Centre of the Bruyère Research Institute, and an Associate Professor in the University of Ottawa’s Department of Family Medicine with a cross-appointment to the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine. She continues to practice family medicine within the Ottawa Hospital Academic Family Health Team. Her current research program focuses on accessibility to specialist care and improving chronic disease prevention and management as well as health services. Her achievements in research and program implementation have been recognized by a number of awards, including the Michel Bilodeau Centre of Excellence Award from Bruyère Continuing Care (2014), the Ontario Minister of Health Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Health Quality and Safety (2014), and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Career Scientist Award (2007-2011).

Margot Wilson PhotoMargot Wilson
Margot Wilson is the Director of the Providence Health Care Chronic Disease Management Strategy. Throughout her 30 year career in health care she has held various leadership roles both in the clinical and administrative setting. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of British Columbia and continues her affiliation with the University in an Adjunct Faculty position with the School of Nursing. In 2012, Margot completed the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement “Executive Training for Research Application Fellowship” that aims to bridge the gap between research and policy by promoting evidence-based decision-making. In 2011, Margot was awarded the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. “Award of Distinction in Nursing”. Margot has also accepted on behalf of the shared care team, several provincial and national awards for Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise.


Kirby KirvanKirby Kirvan, Improvement Lead, CFHI