Physician’s Perceptions about E-consults


This paper from the Dutch health care system unpacks the enormous impact digital Interprofessional Communication such as electronic consults have on patient care.


This qualitative study explores the views of General Practitioners (GPs) and hospital specialists about e-consultations. The research team conducted semi structured interviews with selected GPs from one geographically demarcated region in the Netherlands, collaborating with a large regional hospital.  Several themes emerged which further consolidate the positive impact of E-consults in delivery of value-based care. 


Overall, the specialists and GP’s both recognized improved access to specialty with E-consults and acknowledged the avoidance of unnecessary referrals to

Reasons to request an e-consultation by GPs included:

* Staying in control of direct patient care.

* Avoiding unnecessary referrals when experiencing a gap in specific knowledge.

* Providing patients with an alternative upon a patient-initiated request for referral to secondary care for reassurance.

* GPs and hospital specialists generally praised the educational value of e-consultation.


The question of increase in workload for  GP’s has been lingering. 60 % of  GPs experienced no change in workload. Poor accessibility of specialists and the long wait times during telephone consultations outweigh the extra time it takes to request and process an e-consultation.

In summary, this study demonstrates the positive experiences of health care providers using e-consultation and emphasizes the way such digital health services are empowering physicians to provide value-based care. This in turn has a huge impact and reduces health care costs substantially.

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