Program lets doctors dial up specialists

Instead of waiting weeks or even months for a referral to a specialist, patients and their family doctors in B.C. can get speedy phone advice from medical experts through a Vancouver-based program meant to improve care, save money and cut hospital visits.

The on-the-spot advice about diagnosis, medications and treatment plans is delivered when family doctors and nurse practitioners call a designated Telus phone number. A message is sent to an appropriate specialist who returns the call as quickly as possible. Involvement in RACE, or Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise program, is optional, so not all family doctors use the service. Those who don't must try to catch specialists on the fly, with no guarantee of a timely callback. Playing telephone tag is a common problem. Read full story here