Qf2.4 E-Mail Consultations Between Gp And Specialist

M. Tiik1, M. Veskimägi2
1 The Estonian Society of Family Doctors, Tallinn, Estonia
2 The Estonian Society of Family Doctors, Pärnu, Estonia
Rapid development of digital diagnostic equipment in general medicine is made available ECG, tympanometry, spirography, blood pressure monitoring, several laboratory tests, X ray and ultrasonography. Using digital camera and scanner, it is possible to transform to digital form all documents and visible findings. Scope of Study. Email consultation comparison to ordinary consultations by specialities. Effectiveness of e-mail consultation, based on the response time of consultant, patient’s expenses.
Material and Methods.
Material of study is gathered since 15.08.2003 to 15.08.2005 from digital record, database of covering letters and e-mail archive of rural healthcare centre of Tõstamaa.
During the period following primary consultations by specialities are made. otorhinolaryngologist total 99, 43 (43%) by e-mail. traumatologist total 25; 12 (48%) by e-mail. Orthopaedics 59 total; 19 (32%) by e-mail. rheumatologist total 11; 3 (27%) by e-mail. The time for getting an answer by e-mail on average was 1.43 day, by ordinary consultation in 17.8 day. Suggestions by specialists on e-mail based consultation: urgent operation 8%; planned operation 51%; proceed started treatment 36%; need for ordinary consultation 5%. Family physician’s decision after e-mail consultation: urgent referral 8%; planned referral for operation 57%; started conservative treatment with good effect 32%; ordinary consultation due to unsatisfactory results 3%.
Conclusion and Discussion.
It is possible to give consultant enough information by e-mail for making required decision. Effectiveness of e-mail consultation is high, family physician feel a great support getting opinion by specialist in a rapid and easy way. For further development is to develop an Internet based solution for e-consultation.