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Nova Scotia Health launches pilot program with Virtual Hallway

Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub has launched a six-month pilot program with Virtual Hallway, a Nova Scotian company that connects primary care providers with specialists to improve patient access to specialist care.

Virtual Hallway aims to improve patient access to specialist care by facilitating rapid specialist phone consults for family doctors and nurse practitioners while also saving time and effort.

“We have partnered with a local company to explore a unique and innovative solution that has the potential to reduce wait times and improve the health care experience for both patients and providers,” says Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Discovery, and Chief Nurse Executive, Nova Scotia Health.

“The Innovation Hub’s test and try approach to innovation allows us to rapidly identify potential solutions, like Virtual Hallway, and explore how they can help us transform healthcare in our province. We are committed to being nimble and adaptable to implement new and innovative ways of doing things for the benefit of patients, families, and providers in Nova Scotia.”

Through Virtual Hallway, primary care providers can receive patient specific advice from specialists through brief phone consultations, at a time that works for their schedule. The goal of this process is to allow for efficient and rapid specialist input to help avoid delays to patient care.

Since the program launch on May 27, over 500 Virtual Hallway consultations have taken place between primary care providers and Nova Scotia Health specialists.

“We are proud to be working with Nova Scotia Health to solve the real-world health care challenge of expediting patient access to specialist care. Seeing Nova Scotian health care providers come together for better patient care has been a moving experience. It’s a win-win situation that is already improving patient outcomes today,” says Justin Hartlen, CEO of Virtual Hallway.

Quick Facts

  • Primary care providers can typically connect with a specialist through Virtual Hallway within one to two days.
  • Specialists in Nova Scotia are available for consultations in the areas of psychiatry, internal medicine, gastroenterology, endocrinology, hepatology, hematology, pain management, OB/GYN, pediatric allergy and more.
  • Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub is partnering with the internal medicine and gastroenterology teams on the evaluation of this pilot.
  • The evaluation will explore the suitability of the Virtual Hallway solution as a peer-consult option for providers and identify opportunities for further collaboration, along with providing the company with clinician feedback.

Additional Quotes

“This innovative service is a game changer for physicians across the province. One of the benefits of a community of practice is fostering close connections between our family medicine physicians and other specialists. This process helps replicate the strength we already have in these connections, making them faster and virtual. This is a great opportunity for our clinicians and their patients.”
- Dr. Nicole Boutilier, Vice President, Medicine, Nova Scotia Health

“I’ve been using Virtual Hallway for the last year. It’s been a game-changer in my large family medicine practice. I receive quick support from a variety of wonderful specialists on a platform that is very easy to access. It has helped me better care for patients with complicated health issues. I’m amazed at how much I’ve been learning along the way. I encourage any interested primary care providers to take advantage of this tool.”
- Dr. Elena Swift, Family Physician from Bedford, Nova Scotia

About Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub

Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub is leading innovation and research within the healthcare system to deliver high-impact solutions for patients and providers. Through strategic partnerships with clinical champions, industry, healthcare foundations, governments and academic partners, Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub is transforming healthcare through the best available evidence and innovative solutions. It’s also a catalyst that is fostering an innovative mindset and approaches to bring about positive system change.

About Virtual Hallway

Virtual Hallway is a physician owned and operated service, led by psychiatrists Drs. Jacob Cookey, Luke Napier, Daniel Rasic and healthcare innovator Justin Hartlen. The service started based on their observation that patients were waiting too long for specialist consultation and that these delays were leading to more chronic and disabling conditions. The idea was that specialist input earlier on in a course of illness could streamline a person’s treatment and optimize their care.

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