Specialist LINK is a critical link in the chain of patient care. This is a telephone advice line that family doctors can use to contact a specialist for advice about a patient in real time. Specialists can now also use this line to call other specialists regarding patient care. Specialists will return a doctor’s call within one hour. This quick response enhances the ability to manage a patient in the family physician’s office with close support from specialty care. The link also provides an opportunity to receive collegial advice, education and mutual support.
- Chronic Pain
- General Neurology
- Pediatrics (PaedLINK)
All physicians and nurse practitioners in Calgary and area. Pediatricians also accept calls from Midwives.
It is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. excluding statutory holidays. Specialist LINK provides support for family physicians during regular business hours, when patients are most likely to be seen in their doctor's office.
Call Local: 403.910.2551 or toll free 1.844.962.5465. Your call will be connected to the specialists of your choice cell phone or pager and prompted to leave your phone number. Your call will be returned within one hour. If you experience any difficulties, please dial #0 and your call will be redirected to support staff.
Family physicians will be connected via a programmed call-forwarding service. The inbound call is forwarded directly to a pager and in some occasions a cell phone. For specialists who use the pager system, the Specialist LINK code will be seen on the display: “51-” followed by the direct call back number of the physician calling. This will direct the specialist to return the call within one hour.
NO. Urgent matters should be directed to the on-call specialist at the appropriate acute care site or depending on specialty, RAAPID South at 403.944.4488 or toll free 1.800.661.1700.
If you have trouble connecting to a specialist, try re-dialing 403.910.2551 or toll free 1.844.962.5465, dial #0 and your call will be redirected to support staff. You can also contact the Specialist LINK administrator directly at 587.774.9739 or Calgary Foothills PCN Program Manager at 403.618.9372 or SpecialistLink@cfpcn.ca.
No. Specialist LINK is not intended for information on referral status. If there is new information to support the referral or questions about triage status, please connect directly with Central Access and Triage.
Be sure to provide a direct telephone number, so you know the specialist can reach you directly (ie. cell or clinic back door number). Please do not provide us with a clinic number when your clinic is closed, including lunch or other times.
Yes. Pediatricians provide support for anyone up to 17 years of age. The other services connected to Specialist LINK provide advice on adult patients age 18 and older.
- Family doctors can seek advice from the specialist about any questions or concerns. For example, if you have a patient in front of you and there are red flags that concern you, or the patient has not improved in the last six months – call the line. You may also need help with system navigation issues, or you simply need some reassurance.
- The specialist can support you with advice on diagnostic testing, general management, therapeutics or other clinical questions. The length of calls varies between five to 10 minutes. The specialist will not confirm a diagnosis. They can discuss best-fit diagnoses and support you with a care plan.
Patient’s name and health care number
We encourage people to use a standard, structured communication approach such as SBAR:
- Situation - A statement of the problem: what is the concern?
- Background - Brief information related to the problem: what has happened?
- Assessment - Analysis/consideration of options: outline what you found/think.
- Recommendation - Request/recommend action: state what you need.
Yes. Specialist LINK is meant to provide support for primary care givers. It is important to keep in mind the communication channels and ensure decisions regarding care are communicated through the primary care giver - either the family doctor or the nurse practitioner.
No. As per best practice guidelines, tele-advice conversation must be recorded by both the requesting physician and the specialist in their respective records
No. The specialists have a rotation schedule.
Specialty physicians currently practicing in Calgary zone. Chronic Pain services are supported by specialized Nurse Practitioners.
Yes. Specialists taking the calls are supporting Specialist LINK through mutual interest
Yes. You will need the specialist practice ID to complete the billing.
- Physician to Physician Telehealth 03.01LG for family physician.
- Physician to Physician Telehealth 03.01LJ for specialist physician.
- Calls to Chronic Pain are not eligible for billing.
Yes. The specialist can support you with advice on diagnostic testing, general management, therapeutics or other clinical questions.
- Specialist LINK supports family physicians who share the same language by directing care to the patient with the support of the specialist.
- Specialist LINK has been used by family physicians who had patients that are challenged by traveling to appointments.
- If a formal specialist consult is required after the tele-conversation, a referral should be sent to Central Access and Triage.
CME credits are available through
Government of Alberta, patient education:
If you have any questions or experience any challenges with the phone advice line, you can contact the Specialist LINK administrator at 587.774.9739, Calgary Foothills PCN Program Manager at 403.618.9372 or SpecialistLink@cfpcn.ca.
In the Calgary area, there are now two great ways to get timely non-urgent advice for your patient. Call Specialist LINK for a response within one hour, or submit an Alberta Netcare eReferral Advice Request and receive a response within five calendar days.