Building eConsult into your Referral Workflow: The Delegate Model

The Ontario eConsult Centre of Excellence has released new documentation to support the delegateWords: Delegate Model Workflow model of workflow for eConsult providers. Integrated eService Lead Andrea Huck says, “The delegate model allows a provider to minimize the administrative tasks of submitting an eConsult for the requesting physician or nurse practitioner, by leveraging a delegate to complete part of the process, on their behalf.” In some cases, these ‘delegates’ already exist, by way of administrative staff, nurses or referral clerks, she says. “Delegates are granted access to manage the submission of an eConsult through the eConsult platform, on behalf of the provider, allowing the provider to complete all of their work, within their EMR, leveraging tools and processes that they are already familiar with.” The delegate model can be tailored to the provider/clinic’s existing workflow to enable easier and more efficient use of eConsult. 

Huck says, “We have learned over time that providers and clinical staff use different methods and features within particular EMRs. Our staff have become familiar with some of these nuances and have been able to fully consider both the provider and delegate workflow to make the best recommendation to increase the likelihood of using eConsult, when EMR integration is not possible.” The Centre of Excellence has developed new tools and supporting documentation which take these varying processes into consideration and can be distributed to providers/clinics, as needed. “Today, with a bit of work with the clinic staff/decision makers, we can customize the delegate model to meet the specific needs of the providers and/or the clinic.”

Primary care providers know the value of eConsult, like being able to quickly obtain the advice of a specialist in a matter of days, instead of weeks or months, in order to treat their patients and provide them with the best care possible. It also assists with reducing in-person visits, Huck says. The biggest barrier to our providers using the service is to transition from working inside the EMR to using an Internet browser that is external to the EMR. “Regardless of the value, if accessing a service is not convenient, our providers are going to be less likely to use it. We are trying to bridge that gap, understanding that our providers want to get back to what is important – providing world class care to their patient populations. By leveraging the delegate model, they can obtain this specialist advice and get the answers they are looking for while reducing the amount of administrative work to get there.”

For more information on the Delegate Model, please view the fact sheet and visit the SEAMO website