Migraine, peripheral arthritis, thyroid nodules pathways added
May 7, 2018
Clinical care pathways
Three new enhanced primary care pathways have been added to the www.specialistlink.ca website, which provides family doctors in the Calgary area with information about diagnostic and treatment options for their patients.
Thyroid Nodules, Peripheral Arthritis and Headache & Migraine are the latest additions to the website, which now features 14 pathways within six specialties. Developed thanks to a unique partnership between the Calgary-area’s seven Primary Care Networks and Alberta Health Services specialists and support staff, the web-based pathways help equip family physicians with the knowledge and support they need to determine if a patient needs urgent help, a referral or is better cared for within the doctor’s clinic.
“We’re continuing to address issues that family doctors see in their offices to help them better manage their patients and improve access to care,” said Dr. Linda Slocombe, chair of the group that developed the pathways. “The success of this work has already led to a reduction in wait lists for routine referrals and we’re continuing to partner with specialty groups to develop new pathways.”
Specialist LINK was first established in 2014 and now includes enhanced primary care pathways for endocrinology, gastroenterology, general neurology, hepatology, respirology and rheumatology. In the past year, pathways have been downloaded more than 3,000 times by family doctors. The pathways have helped improve access for patients, with the non-urgent gastro-intestinal wait-list, for example, dropping dramatically from 2,742 in January 2016 to 30 by February 2018. Visits to the website are also increasing, with 21,458 page views in 2017-18, compared to 4,964 in 2016-17.
Specialist LINK also includes a non-urgent tele-advice line for family physicians, which 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. Physicians call 403-910-2551 and calls are returned within one hour. Tele-advice is offered in 13 areas, including chronic pain, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hepatology, neurology, pediatrics, respirology and rheumatology. More than 3,600 calls were made to specialists via the phone service in 2017-18. For more information and pathways, visit www.specialistlink.ca.
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