We spoke with Drs Smith and Edgar, GPs in Somerset, to discuss how their access to Telephone Advice & Guidance assists with ensuring the best patient care.
‘Before the implementation of Consultant Connect, I would use slower methods for obtaining specialist advice, such as contacting secretaries, writing letters or calling on-calls specialists via switchboard.
Telephone Advice & Guidance is much quicker because it’s direct and you can avoid switchboard.’
– Dr Smith.
‘When using the app, I never forget to leave an outcome because it’s so straightforward. I don’t need to remember or locate contact numbers. I can easily see which services are currently open. Other than that, it has the same effect as using a landline phone; it’s just a more efficient and smoother way of doing so.
The app has helped me get the information I need to make better decisions for my patients. There’s less time waiting to be connected and no need to leave messages and wait for someone to call back.’ – Dr Edgar.
‘On one occasion, I saw a patient’s ultrasound scan showing an incidental finding of a renal cyst. I used Consultant Connect to speak with a consultant urologist to discuss the best course of action. The consultant recommended that I organise a CT scan and that the patient’s cyst be continuously monitored using further ultrasound scans.
Another time, I organised a stool test for a patient with possible pancreatic insufficiency. I then used Consultant Connect to contact a consultant gastroenterologist to discuss possible treatment options and whether a referral was necessary.
Additionally, another patient’s blood test demonstrated a case of severe folic acid deficiency presenting with pancytopenia. I discussed this case with a consultant haematologist via Consultant Connect, who advised on the patient’s management.
In all cases, Consultant Connect has enabled me to rapidly speak with specialists, streamlining the care of my patients. A lot of the time, I can instigate further investigations or manage the patient’s condition without the need for an outpatient appointment. This is a much better result for the patients in question.’
‘I suspected a patient was developing peripheral vascular disease but wasn’t entirely sure. Measurements at the surgery had been done and were suspicious, so I wanted to order further investigations but wasn’t sure which or if an admission was needed. I used the free Consultant Connect App to contact the Vascular Surgical Team, who suggested that they would conduct all necessary investigations in one clinic. This meant an admission wasn’t needed unless the patient’s condition worsened and a routine clinic referral was made.
The patient avoided an unnecessary admission and had a more convenient all-encompassing appointment which confirmed the diagnosis. The patient was happy not to have been admitted to hospital.’