Since 2010, the Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialist Advice through eConsultation) service has allowed primary care providers (PCPs) to submit patient specific clinical questions to specialists through a secure web service. By facilitating communication between PCPs directly with specialists, eConsults can reduce the need for face-to-face consultations in a secure platform. The study objectives are to describe questions asked to Infectious Diseases specialists through eConsultation and assess eConsultation’s impact on physician behaviours.
eConsults completed through the Champlain BASE service from April 15, 2013 to January 31, 2015 were characterized based on the type of question asked and infectious disease content. Usage data and PCP responses to a mandatory closeout survey were analyzed to determine eConsult response times, change in need for a face-to-face consultation, and change in planned course of action.
Of the 224 Infectious Diseases eConsults, the most common types of questions were: interpretation of a clinical test 18.0% (41), general management16.5 % (37) and indications/goals of treating a particular condition 16.5% (37). The most frequently consulted areas of infectious disease content were: Tuberculosis 14.3% (32), Lyme disease 14.3% (32) and Parasite questions not otherwise specified 12.9% (29). PCPs received their answer within 24 hrs in 63% of cases and 82% of cases took the specialist less than 15 minutes to complete. In 32% of cases a face-to- face referral was originally planned by the PCP, but was no longer needed. In 7.8% cases, the PCP was not originally planning to refer the patient, but did so after the eConsult. In 55% of cases, the PCP either received new information or changed their course of action.
Through the use of an eConsult service, PCPs receive timely access to infectious disease specialists' advice that often results in a change in plans for a face-to-face referral.
C. Liddy, None
A. Afkham, None
E. Keely, None