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Enhancing access to specialty care

March 25, 2014

As part of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TCLHIN) primary care strategy and their community transformation initiative, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has been asked to lead the work to:

  1. Improve the Primary Care Referral Process by making it easier to identify appropriate specialists to refer to and standardize the process;
  2. Enhance the quality of the referral information received by specialists to support an efficient review that will result in a timely appointment for the patient; and
  3. Establish communication processes to enable referring physicians to contact specialists to receive clinical advice (consultations) and/or ensure appropriateness of a referral.

In early March, Sunnybrook held an engagement session with primary care providers, specialists, and other health care leaders from across the TCLHIN to gather feedback and input on the issues and potential solution to improving primary care access to specialist care. There was great discussion and feedback throughout the evening and Sunnybrook is incorporating the feedback into a TCLHIN report.

Based on feedback from the session, there are a few items that stakeholders have identified and agreed as priorities to enhance access to specialists:

  1. Establishing a Specialist Directory
  2. Determining a minimum data set for referrals for particular specialty groups
  3. Further investigating and developing patient engagement tools to ensure patients are aware of appointments, directions, and other important information to prepare for their appointments
  4. Investigating use of eConsults has the appropriate billing/remuneration policies and standards associated with it

The TCLHIN and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre would be interested in hearing back from you, to tell us if we have identified the top priority action items.  If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to let us know. We've attached the slide deck from the session.

PDF Enhancing access to specialists in the TC LHIN (PDF, 3 MB)

Group of physicians