Assessment of multiple-opinion referrals and consults at the BC Children’s Hospital Allergy Clinic Sage, Adam P.; James, Elliot; Burke, Megan; Chan, Edmond S.; Wong, Tiffany
Allergic disease is on the rise. Waitlists for specialists are long, and many referred patients have already received prior allergic assessment, either by a certified Allergist, Primary Care Provider, or other Specialist. It is important to understand the prevalence and motivating factors for multiple-opinion referrals, to deliver timely assessment for patients with allergic disease. Methods: A retrospective chart review of demographic information, number of previous consultations, and motivation for new consults and multiple-opinion referrals, of pediatric patients aged 8 months–17 years to BC Children’s Hospital Allergy Clinic from September 1, 2016–August 31, 2017, was performed. Referral data including reason for referral or multiple-opinion, primary allergic concerns, and others, from referral forms and consult notes were accessed through local Electronic Medical Records and subsequently analyzed for trends in categorical variables to assess the rationale for and impact of multiple-opinion referrals to our clinic. Results: Of 1029 new referrals received, 210 (20.4%) were multiple-opinion referrals. Food allergy was the predominant allergic concern prompting further opinion (75.7%). The main rationale for seeking further opinions was wanting an assessment by a certified allergist in cases where prior consultation was performed by non-allergist specialist, primary care provider, or alternative health care provider. Of second-opinion referrals generated, 70 (33.3%) initial consultations were performed by an Allergist, whereas 140 (66.7%) were performed by a non-allergist. Conclusions: Many new consults at the BCCH Allergy Clinic are multiple-opinion assessments, contributing to long waitlists. Advocacy at the systems level through standardized referral guidelines, centralized triaging systems, and stronger support for Primary Care Providers is needed to provide better access in Canada for children needing a specialized Allergist.
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