Referral and consultation process improvements

June 2022​

Changes are coming soon to the referral and consultation process. For the past several months, primary care champions have been co-designing, with specialty care champions, several process and program improvements.

While much of the work is in development, beginning this summer and phasing in over the next several months, a central access and intake program called Alberta Facilitated Access to Specialized Treatment (FAST) will be launched in each geographic zone. Primary care providers can expect to see new streamlined and provincially standardized referral forms and consistent and transparent processes when a referral is sent to Alberta FAST program. FAST will offer the choice of next available provider or the provider of the patient/referring provider’s preference.

The new referral forms will be made available in each of the major EMRs in Alberta; clinics will be responsible to update fax numbers. Stay tuned for more details about when FAST will go live in your zone and for which specialty.

Other improvements to referral and consultation in development include:

  • Pathways: These will be co-identified and co-designed by primary and specialty providers and will give primary care providers the guidance and tools they need to manage their patients for as long and as effectively as possible within the patient’s medical home. These pathways will be accessible from a central repository.
  • Specialist Advice: Models exist already in parts of Alberta, but these models will be expanded and improved to ensure coverage for advice across the province and across more specialties.
  • Electronic Referral Solution: In the future, primary care providers will not have to leave their EMR to create and submit referral. In this system, the journey of the referral will be visible to the referring provider, the consulting provider, and the patient themselves. CII/CPAR is an enabler for electronic referral so if you are not live yet, consider getting started.
  • Community Supports: Once a patient has been referred, resources will be made available to primary care and patients to support patients during the wait to see the consulting provider. If there is a surgery or procedure planned, supports for the patient’s post-procedure journey are planned as well.

Information on the improvements will be posted on the Referral & Consultation webpages as it becomes available. This work is being supported through the Alberta Surgical Initiative. 

Do you want to be a part of the design and consultation process? Please reach out to your PCN Executive Director who can put you in touch with your Physician Lead Executive.