RACE streamlines patient journey
November 1, 2022
The RACEApp+, which was created in 2015, underwent significant updates in 2022. Managed provincially by Providence Health Care, and with more than 85,000 calls to date, RACE streamlines the patient journey through improved communication between family doctors, nurse practitioners and specialists. Committed to keeping up with the telephone advice needs of primary care providers, RACE will continue to add specialty services based on feedback from primary care.
This summer, RACEApp+ rolled out a number of improvements in keeping with the program’s commitment to improving the quality of patient care. Upgrades include:
• The ability to connect to local specialists when available (if they’re not available, you can still easily connect with a specialist in another region).
• Accessibility and ease-of-use upgrades, including consistent formatting for patient demographics, and badge notifications to indicate new requests.
• The ability to facilitate an integrated provincial service.
• Two-factor authentication for improved security and ease-of-use for providers.
The updates will make RACEApp+ easier to use, improving the sharing of patient information between specialists, family physicians and nurse practitioners, while creating a better app experience.
“I find it to be very user-friendly, and a great way to gather the patient data in a confidential but efficient manner,” said Dr. Nawaaz Nathoo, a Vancouver-based ophthalmologist and frequent RACEApp+ user.
The Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) advice line was launched by Providence Health Care in June 2010. The RACE model allows physicians, medical residents, nurse practitioners and midwives to go to one online application, the RACEApp+, or call one number and speak directly to specialists. A collegial and educational interaction is encouraged when the specialist answers the call. The service provides an opportunity for in-time learning, often when the patient is still in the primary care office.
Dr. Yazdan Mirzanejad, a Surrey-based infectious disease specialist with over 25 years of experience, frequently uses RACE and rotates along with his colleagues in providing consultative expertise to other physicians.
“My availability to my medical community practitioners and their patients is clearly owed to RACE … who work to fill the existing gaps for timely access to expert advice,” commented Dr. Mirzanejad.
RACE was launched with five specialty services. And, as of 2022, there are 80+ services available, with plans to increase the specialty service offerings. Family physicians and specialists are remunerated for telephone interaction. RACE is funded in part by the Shared Care Committee, a joint collaborative committee representing a partnership between Doctors of BC and the BC government. The service currently has over 1,500 calls per month, and services more than 4,300 primary care providers and 800 specialists.
The RACEApp+ allows users to easily request the specialty of their choice in one easy step – no more listening to the list of specialties on the telephone and writing down billing information.
It allows physicians to pre-enter patient demographics while requesting advice, ensuring the phone conversation is focused solely on the patient. Specialists can make a note and choose how they would like to be notified of requests either by phone, text, email or pager. Although the request is placed through the app, the interaction is still voice-to-voice when the specialist returns the telephone call. The app is accessible via web browser at www.raceapp.ca or for free on Apple and Android devices.
Specialist advice lines exist in other provinces outside of BC. For example, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan all have telephone advice lines. While these programs are similar to RACE, they have different approaches for providing primary care support.
The success stories around RACE are heard across BC. Dr. Christina Thompson, a family physician working in Bella Bella and other rural communities, uses the RACE app on a regular basis. Being in communities where specialists are scarce, Dr. Thompson sees RACE as a valuable resource to her everyday practice.
“I have found RACE specialists are often very understanding of our rural context and limitation,” she said. “I often do not have the lab tests or imaging resources easily accessible that would be at a larger centre.”
And the range of specialists she consults with, especially given her location, is vast. In fact, over the past three months, she’s used the app to connect with cardiologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, pediatricians, rheumatologists, and more.
“As a rural physician, it makes my work easier knowing I have the support of my specialist colleagues in a timely and collegial nature. As a patient, it helps provide treatment options and access to care more on par with what urban communities experience,” she added.
For more information, visit raceconnect.ca or contact our administrative team at RACE@providencehealth.bc.ca.
Miranda Defer is Project Leader, Virtual Health and Shared Care, with Providence Health Care.