Family physicians turn to Specialist LINK in record numbers

May 21, 2019

CALGARY – Family doctors turned to Specialist LINK in record numbers last year, with tele-advice requests, pathway downloads, website views and cost savings all soaring.

The tele-advice service that connects Calgary and area family physicians with specialists saw calls increase 75 per cent to more than 6,400 in 2018-19, with almost half of those requests now being made online. Eighty per cent of physicians said they felt better equipped to support their patient after the call.

Page views at increased by 116 per cent last year, while there was a 67 per cent increase in the number of clinical care pathway downloads. Click on the image at right to download a one-page summary or click here to read the full report.

Other highlights from the Specialist LINK annual report included:

  • Four specialty groups were added to the tele-advice service, bringing the total to 16
  • 89 per cent of physicians were satisfied or very satisfied with tele-advice
  • 56 per cent of patients no longer needed a referral following tele-advice
  • There was a 101 per cent jump (2,898) in the number of patients who avoided a consult as a result of tele-advice
  • The number of patients who avoided emergency room visits fell by 13 per cent (1,159)
  • Tele-advice net system savings increased 19 per cent to $515,280

Click here to view 'by the numbers' reports for 2017 and 2018.

Specialist LINK includes a tele-advice line, clinical care pathways and other resources designed to support family physicians to care for their patients. Requesting tele-advice is simple; doctors can either log on to or call 403.910.2551. Physicians can expect to receive a call-back within one hour.

About Specialist LINK
Specialist LINK was launched in 2014 as part of a collaboration between Calgary and area Primary Care Networks, specialists and Alberta Health Services. A non-urgent tele-advice line for family physicians is available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for chronic pain), excluding statutory holidays. Calls are returned within one hour. Clinical care pathways are also available. Please visit for more details.

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