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Dr. Clare Liddy is an investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute

Improving Access to Specialist Care through eConsult for Patients Living with Chronic Pain


  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research have awarded new funding to Dr. Clare Liddy and her team to expand their existing eConsult service to help patients living with chronic pain.
  • This service will help to quickly connect primary care providers and chronic pain specialists in order to better address patients’ health needs.
  • Through CIHR’s support, Dr. Liddy and her team will leverage the proven eConsult service to improve access to specialist care for patients with chronic pain across 3 provinces. 
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have awarded funding to the Champlain BASE™ eConsult research team to help chronic pain sufferers gain better access to specialist care.
Between 15% and 29% of Canadians suffer from chronic pain. This population is large and diverse, consisting of people from all ages. Those affected often must cope while working, enjoying their retirement, living in the community, or in a long-term care home. “These individuals face many challenges,” explains Dr. Clare Liddy, family physician and clinical investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute. “They often have co-existing chronic conditions, a high burden of suffering, and complex medication routines. In addition to this, they often have to wait from six months to five years before they can see a chronic pain specialist.”
Fortunately, Dr. Liddy has a solution: the Champlain BASE™ eConsult service, a secure online application that allows primary care providers and specialists to communicate electronically regarding a patient’s care.
Co-created by Dr. Liddy and endocrinologist Dr. Erin Keely, the eConsult service has completed nearly 40,000 cases sent to 111 specialty groups—including those pertaining directly to chronic pain. Specialists respond in two days on average, and two-thirds of cases are resolved without the patient needing a face-to-face specialist visit.
Building on their success, the eConsult team plans to expand their service as part of an ambitious program targeting patients suffering from chronic pain. Partners from Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec have joined the project, allowing this innovative service to be tested in multiple jurisdictions across Canada.
The challenge, however, is that these types of projects often fail to move beyond the pilot stage. To mitigate that risk, the research team will use their new funding to support a four-year program of research, which will allow Dr. Liddy and her team to effectively implement the eConsult service in three target provinces.
First, the research team will identify the unique needs of patients in each province and use this knowledge to tailor the eConsult chronic pain service in each jurisdiction. Next, they will launch the service and evaluate its impact at the patient, provider, and health system level. Lastly, they will create a suite of adoption and engagement tools and devise a strategy for a national scale up of the service.
If you are a member of the media and would like to book an interview with Dr. Clare Liddy, please contact:

Eric Dicaire
Communications Coordinator
(613) 562 – 6262 ext 2956

About the Bruyère Research Institute
The Bruyère Research Institute supports investigators who contribute to a better, more responsive health care system that delivers the best care to patients, residents and families. The Institute is a proud partner of Bruyère Continuing Care, the University of Ottawa and others and provides solutions to improve the health and health care of aging and vulnerable Canadians. The Institute’s research focuses primarily on evidence, health system evaluation, brain health, geriatrics and rehabilitation, primary care, palliative care, and global health. www.bruyere.org/bri