One of the guiding ideas behind the articles we create and post is: useful. To simply use every opportunity to tell you to buy or use our product, well, that gets old fast. The kind of posts we look to publish have good content.
We don’t simply want to tell you that dr2dr exists, we want to show you the value of dr2dr for you, your practice, and your patients.
Which is why we’ve written this article: to show you that the value of dr2dr isn’t strictly tied to the features as we’ve described them; dr2dr’s value comes from how you decide to use it.
Your time is important. Every day, healthcare providers feel an ever-increasing tax on their time. Administration tasks, paperwork: these tasks slowly decrease the time available for patient care. The more time spent on these tasks, on waiting to get to the next step in your patient’s care, the less time you spend on the patient’s care.
Since dr2dr’s introduction into Providence Health Care this past year, healthcare providers are seeing greater improvements in patient care and treatment timeframes.
Providence Health Care
Formed in 2000 through the consolidation of CHARA Health Care Society, Holy Family Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital, and through a partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority and the University of British Columbia, Providence Health Care now operates 17 sites in British Columbia, wherein 2016-2017 they had almost 635,000 patient visits and 118,000 emergency department visits alone.
In 2010, Providence Health Care, supported with funding from the Shared Care Committee (a partnership of Doctors of BC and the BC government), launched Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE), an organized telephone-based service to connect GPs with Specialists who could respond to urgent consultation requests over the phone within a 2-hour timeframe.
As soon as RACE was introduced, the program was quickly picked up by both GPs and specialists who recognized its potential. With RACE’s 2-hour response time, urgent consultations could be dealt with almost immediately, expediting the treatment plans and care of patients.
However, as the adoption of RACE increased, Providence Health began to see an increased, non-urgent use. GPs wanted a system for clinical questions that might not be urgent, but still required a specialist’s consultation. Specialists started to receive non-urgent calls, but still wanted to help.
RACE to eCASE
In 2017, Providence Health, with support from the Shared Care Committee, launched eCASE, electronic Consultative Access to Specialist Expertise, using Microquest’s dr2dr Secure Messaging Platform.
According to Providence Health Care, “for traditional referrals, patients might wait months to see a specialist, however, minor advice may be all that is needed.”
Using a number of dr2dr’s built-in features, Providence Health Care created a unique consultation service: Specialists are grouped together based on their specialty, and given access to a clinic mailbox. Depending on which specialist is on call, that specialist will be set to receive notifications when a new message has arrived in the clinic mailbox. When that specialist is done their on-call rotation, notifications are turned off for them and turned on for the next on-call specialist.
To expand on the set up using an example, within dr2dr, Providence Health Care has set up a cardiology mailbox. When a GP has a non-urgent case requiring a consultation with a cardiologist, the GP will start a conversation and send the message to the cardiology mailbox. From there, the on-call specialist can respond to the consult in their free time.
Providence Health Care has already started seeing amazing results with dr2dr and eCASE. Since the pilot started, the majority of eCASE questions sent through dr2dr have avoided unnecessary specialist referrals.
In cases where a consultation with a specialist might be needed, but where that particular consult doesn’t require an in-person visit between the patient and specialist, dr2dr provides GPs the ability to still consult with a specialist, and provides specialists the ability to still help without taking time away from responding to urgent requests.
With eCASE, dr2dr has helped streamline the patient journey, allowing GPs to provide quicker treatment plans. In cases where the GP might know the answer, but consulting with a specialist would ensure a proper treatment plan, dr2dr can get that answer quickly.
For specialists, having non-urgent consultation requests sent through dr2dr saves valuable time; Specialists can still respond to urgent requests using RACE, while still responding to non-urgent consultations in their free time, ensuring all patients get the benefit of their expertise.
The Future of Secure Messaging
In the short time, the eCASE pilot has been running, the value of dr2dr and the eCASE system has been recognized throughout the dr2dr user base. When asked to evaluate the system after a few weeks of use, healthcare providers throughout the Vancouver Coastal Health region have responded positively, indicating that a system like this would be invaluable within the wider healthcare community.
Implementing a solution like eCASE and adopting a resource like dr2dr can be a daunting task at first. Everyone has their own specific workflow, a workflow refined over, possibly, years, and wondering how to integrate dr2dr into that workflow can leave many healthcare professionals weary.
However, bringing dr2dr into your practice doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your current workflows and redesign them from scratch.
Quite the opposite: your specific needs, your unique workflows – dr2dr can fit.