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Electronic Consultations Improve Primary Care Physicians’ Access to Subspecialty Advice and Reduce Patient Referrals

A new study in the Annals of Family Medicine examines usage data from a provincial electronic consultation (eConsult) service in Ontario, Canada, which facilitates rapid and secure communications between primary care physicians and subspecialists. The research team sought to analyze eConsult’s impact on primary care physicians’ access to subspecialty advice, health system costs, and whether there was a decreased need for in-person visits. They also identified barriers to access and uptake over a two-year period.

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