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Innovation Fund Provincial Oversight Committee recognizes her work to reduce referral times to pediatric specialists through e-consultation

Ottawa, December 18, 2017 – Dr. Lillian Lai, a Cardiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and a Clinical Investigator with the CHEO Research Institute, has received the Innovation Fund Award for Technology and Education from the Innovation Fund Provincial Oversight Committee (IFPOC). Dr. Lai worked to implement “eConsult” and investigate its impact on the delivery of pediatric specialty consultation at CHEO. “eConsult” is an established web-based service in the adult system that allows primary care practitioners to submit clinical questions to a specialist.

Dr. Lillian Lai and Dr. Carrol Pitters, Chair

Dr. Lillian Lai and Dr. Carrol Pitters, Chair

“When I started this work, there was no other Canadian institution that had implemented an e-consultation service in a pediatric tertiary care facility,” says Dr. Lai. “I wanted to know if, by implementing a web-based service, we could reduce the time it took for primary care practitioners to get specialist advice and help make the determination if a face-to-face referral was necessary. We were not sure if the success seen in the adult sphere could be translated to pediatrics.”

“eConsult” was a success with its users. Access to specialist advice was reduced to only one day from what could sometimes be a wait of weeks or months for face-to-face advice. Primary care practioners reported that, in over a third of cases, had it not been for “eConsult”, they would have asked for a face-to-face referral, which would mean longer wait times for their patients.

CHEO_CHAMO_Innovation_Lai“We nominated Dr. Lai for this award because of how innovative it is and the positive impact ‘eConsult’ has had at CHEO and could have across the province and possibly the country,” says Dr. David Dyment, Chair of the Children’s Hospital Academic Medical Organization (CHAMO) Innovation Fund Committee and Clinical Investigator at the CHEO Research Institute. “And we’re seeing this happen already. ‘eConsult’ has now been endorsed by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term as a service that should be provided to the province and has committed budget to this make this a reality.”

“We are pleased that Dr. Lai is receiving this award, which recognizes how important ‘eConsult’ could be to improving care for children and their families,” says Dr. Carrol Pitters, Chair of CHAMO. “Any health issue a child has is a worry to parents and caregivers. Reducing the time it takes to get specialized advice allows families and their health providers to get answers and make decisions earlier. Dr. Lai’s work is particularly important for underserviced areas, where access to specialists can mean significant time and financial burdens for patients in remote areas when they have to get to a specialty center like CHEO. Congratulations Lillian.”

About the CHEO Research Institute The CHEO Research Institute coordinates the research activities of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and is affiliated with the University of Ottawa. Its three programs of research include molecular biomedicine, health information technology, and evidence to practice research. Key themes include cancer, diabetes, obesity, mental health, emergency medicine, musculoskeletal health,

electronic health information and privacy, and genetics of rare disease. The CHEO Research Institute makes discoveries today for healthier kids tomorrow.

About the Innovation Fund The Innovation Fund is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ontario Medical Association resulting from the Academic Health Science Centre Alternative Funding Plan that now includes more than 5,000 physicians working in 16 of Ontario’s Academic Health Science Centres.

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