Use of Electronic Consultation System to Improve Access to Care in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

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Background:Electronic consultations (eConsult) allow for communication between primary care providers and specialists in an asynchronous manner. This study examined provider satisfaction, topics of interest, and efficiency of eConsult in pediatric hematology/oncology in Ottawa, Canada.Methods:We conducted a cross-sectional assessment of all eConsult cases directed to pediatric hematology/oncology specialists using the Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialists through eConsultation) eConsult service from June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2016.Results:There were 1064 eConsults to pediatrics during the study timeperiod and pediatric hematology/oncology consults accounted for 8% (85). During the same study timeperiod, 524 consults were seen in the pediatric hematology/oncology clinic. The majority of the eConsults were for hematology (90.5%) in contrast to oncology topics (9.5%). The most common topics were anemia, hemoglobinopathy, bleeding disorder, and thrombotic state. Primary care providers rated the eConsult service very highly, and their comments were very positive. The eConsult service resulted in deferral of 40% of consults originally contemplated to require a face-to-face specialist visit.Conclusions:This study showed successful implementation and use of the eConsult service for pediatric hematology/oncology and resulted in avoidance of a large number of face-to-face consultation. The common topics identified areas for continuing medical education.

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