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FAQ: For Patients

Q: What is an eConsult?

A: An eConsult occurs when a primary care provider (PCP) electronically sends a question to a specialist. This can be a simple question (e.g., about a drug dosage) or a more complex question following an initial assessment by the PCP (e.g., sending a question with images of the patient for a virtual dermatology assessment). eConsults may avoid the need to refer a patient to a specialist for diagnosis and treatment.

Q: How does eConsult benefit me?

A: The eConsult service provides a fast, asynchronous, secure way for primary care providers (family doctors and nurse practitioners) to ask specialists questions about their patients. Where a referral to a specialist can take months, all eConsults are answered within a week. In many cases, the advice the primary care provider receives lets them treat their patient themselves, meaning that the patient does not need to see a specialist at all. In cases where a specialist visit is needed, eConsult gives the primary care provider the information they need to support the patient while they wait.


Q: Can I request an eConsult on my own?

A: The eConsult service supports communication between family doctors/nurse practitioners and specialists. While providing patients with better care is our ultimate goal, the service itself can only be used by health care providers.


Q: Does my family doctor use eConsult?

A: Over 1240 family doctors and 230 nurse practitioners have currently signed up to use the Champlain eConsult BASE Service. The majority of these providers practice in Ottawa and the surrounding region. The broader Ontario eConsult Service serves the rest of the province and continues to explore expansion to communities in other provinces and territories across Canada.

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