Specialist Link

Fast Facts: Tele–advice line with a GI/Hepatology Specialist

Local: 403.910.2551 or Toll Free: 1.855.387.3151

Webpage: http://www.specialistlink.ca

The Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology are proud participants in Specialist Link. This is a telephone advice line that family doctors can use to contact a specialist for advice about a patient in real time. The Division has been involved with Specialist Link since its inception in 2014. Specialists will return a doctor’s call within 60 minutes.

Who can use Specialist LINK? All physicians in the Calgary zone and area.

When is Specialist LINK available to me? It is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. excluding statutory holidays. Specialist LINK provides support for family physicians during regular business hours, when patients are most likely to be seen in their doctor’s office.

How do I connect with Specialist LINK to speak with a GI/Hepatology specialist? Call Local: 403.910.2551 or toll free 1.855.387.3151. You may also submit a request at specialistlink.ca. Your call will be connected to the GI/Hepatology specialist’s cell phone or pager. You will be prompted to leave your phone number and call will be returned within 60 minutes. If you experience any difficulties please dial 403.910.2551 ext #0 and your call will be redirected to support staff.

Can I call Specialist LINK for urgent cases? NO. For urgent cases or emergencies, we advise you to call the specialist on call and not to use Specialist LINK.

How will I make sure the specialist can contact me? Be sure to provide a direct telephone number, so you know the specialist can reach you directly (ie. cell or clinic back door number). Please do not provide us with a clinic number when your clinic is closed for lunchtime.

Is there an age restriction?  Specialist LINK provides consultation on adult patients aged 18 and up.

What can I consult the GI/Hepatology specialist about?

  • Family doctor can seek advice from the specialist about any questions or concerns. For example, if you have a patient in front of you and red flags that concern you or the patient has not improved in the last six months, call the line. You may also need help with navigation issues, or you simply need some reassurance. 
  • The specialist is able to support you with advice on diagnostic testing, general management, therapeutics or other clinical questions. The length of calls varies between five to 10 minutes. The specialist will not confirm a diagnosis. They can discuss best-fit diagnoses and support you with a care plan.

What information do I need to give the specialist when I call?

  • Patient’s name and health care number
  • Whether you are a family doctor or a nurse practitioner
  • Your practice ID number
  • We encourage people to use a standard, structured communication approach such as SBAR:
    • Situation – A statement of the problem: What is the concern?
    • Background – Brief information related to the problem: What has happened?
    • Assessment – Analysis/consideration of options: outline what you found/think.
    • Recommendation – Request/recommend action: state what you need.

Can Nurse Practitioners call Specialist LINK? Yes, Specialist LINK is meant to provide support for primary care givers. It is important to keep in mind the communication channels and ensure decisions regarding care are communicated through the primary care giver either the family doctor or the nurse practitioner.

Will I receive a follow up report after the phone consult? No.

Can I choose the GI/Hepatology Specialist I speak to? No. The specialists have a rotation schedule.

Can I bill for this consult? Yes, the billing code is 03.01LG telephone contact with a specialist or physician regarding advice or care of a patient.






Diagnostic interview and evaluation, unqualified {Physician-to-physician or podiatric surgeon telephone or tele-health video conference consultation, referring physician, weekdays 0700 to 1700 hours}



Can I link this experience to CME credits?  Yes, CME credits are available through http://www.cfpc.ca/Linking_Learning_to_Practice/ 

What are the objectives for Specialist LINK?

Provide primary care providers with:

  • An opportunity to speak directly with specialists for real-time consults with a fast response time
  • Timely guidance and advice
  • Assistance with a plan of care
  • A collegial interaction and learning opportunity
  • Enhanced ability to manage the patient in your office
  • Additional professional support to family physicians in the care of patients with GI concerns


Where can I find some patient resources?

Referring Physicians