General Information

SPECIALIST LINK: CONNECTING DOCTORS, SUPPORTING PATIENTS

Specialist LINK is the name of an innovative service that connects family doctors and specialists in the Calgary area.  Developed thanks to a unique partnership between the seven Calgary and area Primary Care Networks and Alberta Health Services, its ultimate goal is to improve patient care.

Specialist LINK includes a real-time, physician-only tele-advice line, clinical care pathways and other resources that support family physicians to care for their patients.

HOW TO USE SPECIALIST LINK

  1. PHYSICIANS: Family doctors can request non-urgent tele-advice via this website, or by calling 403.910.2551 or toll-free at 1.844.962.5465. This service is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holiday); chronic pain is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Calls are returned within one hour. Visit our how-to page for a physician's guide to requesting tele-advice. 
  2. PATIENTS: Specialist LINK is a physician-only service. Patients with a health concern should call 911 for immediate assistance or contact Health Link 811. Patients may also wish to visit our patient stories page for more information.

OUR MISSION

The Specialist LINK tele-advice line and clinical care pathways were developed to help improve communication and collaboration between primary and specialty care. They also improve access and have resulted in shorter wait times for specialists, a reduction in unnecessary specialty visits and large cost-savings. The tele-advice line alone is estimated to have saved the health care system almost $1 million in its first four years of operation. It is estimated the service will save the system $1 million per year by 2024.

OUR HISTORY

The first tele-advice phone line, which offered gastroenterology advice, was launched in late 2014 in the Calgary area. Family doctors immediately started seeing the benefits of collaborating with a specialist to confirm treatment plans. The tele-advice line quickly expanded to include chronic pain, endocrinology, hepatology, neurology, pediatrics, respiratory and rheumatology. It continues to grow and add new specialties.

CONTACT US

For all questions or enquiries, including technical issues, please contact the Specialist LINK administrator at 587.774.9740 (Calgary Foothills PCN), or the PCN Program Manager at 403.618.9372 or specialistlink@cfpcn.ca.

"The best and most brilliant resource offered through the PCN."

"Excellent, fantastic, great, helpful service.”

“Response was quick and I found a quick effective resolution to my question: No CT required.”

“The speed of return call, 30 minutes, was exactly what the target time was. Appropriate enough to keep the patient in my clinic in order to implement the specialist suggestion without risking a gap in communication later on…”

“It helped alleviate physician anxiety/worry.”

“Helped me decide which was the means of referral – ie. right place, right specialty.”

“Helped deliver further evaluation of complicated case.”

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