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Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) is a program that provides family physicians with rapid telephone access to a wide range of specialist services for urgent advice.

How it works

Family physicians (FPs) access a rapid telephone line selecting from a range of specialists services (75% of all specialist services available), including respirology, endocrinology and nephrology. The FP calls the line and provides information on their patient's condition, the background and possible causes for the condition. A specialist responds within two hours (most respond within 10 minutes), with practical advice and guidance regarding assessment, management and treatment plans for the patient. Calls average from five to 15 minutes in length. Physicians are compensated for participating.

Since its launch in 2010, the RACE program has facilitated about 7000 calls. The majority of these calls (78%) were answered within 10 minutes while patients were still in their doctors' offices. A third of patients avoided hospital visits, and 60% of patients who were candidates for referral avoided a visit to a specialist altogether.

RACE resources

The RACE team has created resources to share their experience and knowledge with others:


Sarah Forster
Lead, RACE initiative