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EP01 - Technology Innovation, Telehealth (ID 8)
- Event: e-Health 2019 Virtual Meeting
- Type: ePoster Session
- Presentations: 1
- Coordinates: 5/27/2019, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM, Area 6
EP01.06 - Electronic Consultation and Referral Systems in Canada: An Environmental Scan (ID 461)
Patients requiring specialist care in Canada often face poor access and excessive wait times which can lead to patient stress, missed appointments, and ultimately, poorer health outcomes. The implementation of innovative e-Health technology such as electronic consultation (eConsult) and referral (eReferral) systems has aimed to improve access and reduce wait times for specialist care. Electronic consultation allows the specialist to give advice to the primary care physician through an electronic platform, often without the need for a face-to-face visit. Electronic referral is the automation of the referral process allowing for the secure exchange of patient information. In this presentation, we examine what private and publically funded services are available in Canada and compare their operations in the context of the Canadian healthcare system.
An environmental scan consisting of 2 stages was conducted in Fall 2018. First, a grey literature search was performed using four different search engines (Google, Duckduckgo, iOS App Store, Google Play Store) using an established keyword matrix. The next stage of the environmental scan is a key informant interview. From the stakeholders that the grey literature search generated, a list of potential interview candidates was created and contacts were emailed. Maximum variation sampling was employed to ensure sufficient breadth of participant experience. Semi-structured interviews are currently being conducted over the phone using a guide based off of the RE-AIM framework. We will then conduct a qualitative review of interview transcripts using a thematic synthesis approach.
The grey literature search yielded 24 systems offering eConsult services and 15 systems offering eReferral in Canada. Ontario had the most eConsult (29%) and eReferral (67%) services followed by Alberta (25% and 20%, respectively). Private vendors comprised 42% of eConsult systems and 60% of eReferral systems. The most common technology platform utilized was web-based for both eConsult (78%) and eReferral (60%). There were 4 service providers (11%) who offered both eConsult and eReferral services. Interviews are currently underway. Full analysis of recurring themes will be completed prior to the presentation.
The potential of eConsult and eReferral systems to improve access and patient satisfaction have been recognized across Canada with the emergence of new and innovative services. The Canadian healthcare climate has the capacity to support both public and private systems. Further analysis into the state of eConsult and eReferral services is needed to guide decisions around integration of the two services and appropriate spread and scale.
140 Character Summary:
An environmental scan of the public and private eConsult and eReferral systems available within the Canadian healthcare system.