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Specialist LINK and primary care network clinical pathways - a new approach to patient referral: a cross-sectional survey of awareness, utilization and usability among family physicians in Calgary

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posted on 2022-11-22, 21:17 authored by Mubashir Arain, Mahnoush Rostami, Mariama Zaami, Valerie Kiss, Richard Ward

Background

Specialist LINK is a real-time, non-urgent telephone collaboration line designed to link family doctors and specialists. The purpose was to reduce wait times, improve efficiency and enhance the coordination of patient care through enhanced communication between primary and specialty care. The aim of this study was to determine the awareness and utilization of Specialist LINK and Primary Care Network (PCN) Clinical Pathways among family physicians.

Methods

A family physician experience cross-sectional survey was conducted from March to May 2018 in Calgary and Area. The survey was designed to assess family physicians’ awareness and utilization of Specialist LINK and PCN Clinical Pathways. We also used a 1–10 scale for respondents to rate the utility of Specialist LINK (1 was least useful and 10 represented highly useful). To obtain a true representative sample, family physicians were selected through a random sampling method. We applied multiple approaches to ensure a high response rate: paper survey, telephone reminders, and an on-site survey for non-responders.

Results

A total of 251 participants completed the survey of the 650 randomly selected family physicians (Response rate≈39%). Eighty-nine percent of the family physicians were aware of Specialist LINK [95% Confidence Interval (84–92%)]. The average rating was 8.1 (on a scale of 1–10) for the usefulness of Specialist LINK. We found that the odds of being aware of Specialist LINK were two times higher in female family physicians compared to male physicians. Also, those with less than 5 years of experience, the odds of being aware of Specialist LINK were around five times higher compared to those with 5 or more years of experience. Fifty-five percent of family physicians were aware of PCN Clinical Pathways (95% CI = 48–60%); of those, 82% were accessing and following PCN Clinical Pathways in their clinical practice. The average rating was 7.9 (on a scale of 1–10) for the usefulness of PCN Clinical Pathways.

Conclusion

Most of the respondents in Calgary and area were aware of Specialist LINK and a large proportion of them were using it to access advice for their patients.

Other Information

Published in: BMC Family Practice
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
See article on publisher's website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12875-020-01159-0

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Year

  • 2020

Institution affiliated with

  • University of Calgary in Qatar

Methodology

A family physician experience cross-sectional survey was conducted from March to May 2018 in Calgary and Area. The survey was designed to assess family physicians’ awareness and utilization of Specialist LINK and PCN Clinical Pathways. We also used a 1–10 scale for respondents to rate the utility of Specialist LINK (1 was least useful and 10 represented highly useful). To obtain a true representative sample, family physicians were selected through a random sampling method. We applied multiple approaches to ensure a high response rate: paper survey, telephone reminders, and an on-site survey for non-responders.

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