You’ve signed up for Virtual Hallway as a specialist. Now what?

In this short guide, you’ll learn how to setup your:

✅ Profile

✅ Account settings

✅ Availability

Setup your profile

Your profile helps colleagues identify and connect to you as a person and helps ensure that you receive consult requests right in your wheelhouse.

✅ Upload a profile picture

Specialists with profile pictures get around 3x the consult requests. How to upload a profile picture...

✅ Update your bio

Write in the 1st person and keep it brief to help colleagues understand your background and training. If you have specific areas of interest or subspecialty training, include that here. How to add a bio to your profile...

Setup account settings

Account settings allow you to personalize notifications, calendar sync, security and auto-fax options.

 Email and Text Notifications

Never miss a consult with automated email and text notifications. Learn more about how to make notification work for you.

✅ Calendar Sync

Do you use a centralized calendar? If so, subscribe to your Virtual Hallway calendar to get your consults to appear in your calendar. Learn more about how to subscribe to your calendar.

✅ Security

We recommend using a strong password and enabling two factor authentication (2FA). Learn more about how how to reset your password and enable 2FA.

✅ Auto-fax

When you complete a consult report, opt into our auto-fax feature to have all information automatically faxed to your office staff. Learn more about how to set up auto fax.

Setup your availability

✅ Recurring and single events

Setting recurring availability that fits your regular schedule is an easy, “set-and-forget” way to provide sustainable access to primary care providers. You can also set availability on individual dates and times. Learn more about times that work well for phone consultations.

✅ Enable OnDemand booking

By opting into OnDemand booking, requesting physician can indicate they are open to receiving a call from you anytime prior to your scheduled consult. This popular feature gives you the freedom to take advantage of any window of time you have to complete a consult ahead of time. Learn more about this feature.

✅ Advance notice and consult length settings

You can customize how much “buffer” time you require between when a consult is requested and the earliest it can be scheduled for. You can also customize the amount of time that a phone consult is booked for. Learn more about how to adjust your advance notice and consult duration settings.

Take control of your call flow

Imagine being more available to help your primary care colleagues with challenging cases while eliminating interruptions throughout your day.

After getting set up on Virtual Hallway, your primary care colleagues can book phone calls with you… at times that work for you. That means both you and your colleague are in the right headspace to share your expertise.

Triage your consults

Use your appointments for the most pressing cases, while still being able to support patients with lower acuity problems. Have the peace of mind knowing that if a primary care colleague needs your advice on a case, that they have a mechanism to reach you.

Help manage your waitlists.

Use Virtual Hallway to regularly consult with a family doc about a patient with a complex issue. Specialists have found that the primary care provider is able to effectively care for that patient with their guided insights on Virtual Hallway, rather than have that patient referred to their waitlist.

Save time with an easy and quick platform.

We have heard the laments of cumbersome and time-consuming solutions, and are proud to boast a 4.9/5 satisfaction rating from specialist physicians. Easy, smooth, quick, and friendly are the words we hear when we ask specialists about using Virtual Hallway. By connecting with a primary care provider over the phone, you avoid the back-and forth than often comes with asynchronous solutions.

Grow your network.

Make yourself available to primary care clinicians outside of your network for compensated consults. Our team assists and executes promoting your availability on Virtual Hallway to any area or network you are interested in accepting VH consults from. We facilitate e-faxing, OMA related advertisements, and other means of informing clinicians on how to access your support.

Share your expertise widely.

With one of the fastest growing CME Lecture series in the country, we handle all accreditation, sponsorship, hosting and outreach about CME lectures. Just let us know you’re interested in participating as a speaker, and we’ll handle the rest. Learn more about our CMEs.

Earning opportunity

Consulting on cases is work, and being fairly compensated for providing patient care is important. With Virtual Hallway phone consults, we ensure that all eligible fee for service physicians get reimbursed for their work.

Sometimes, we want things done ASAP. Sometimes, our patients’ care can wait for a few days, but other times, it’s important to get the ball rolling right away.

That’s why we’ve introduced On Demand Bookings for the past several months. Daniel and Jacob are specialists that have been using it. “I’ve had a number of on demand bookings, and they’ve been great. Instead of calling at a scheduled time, I was able to call the family physician when I had a few minutes in my day. The call happened quickly, and I didn’t have to break my stride during the day.”

We hope all specialists will give it a try! Here are some tips to keep in mind.

As a Specialist You Have Maximum Flexibility

To opt into OnDemand Bookings, all you have to do is enable it within your account. When someone books an OnDemand consult with you, it will book your next available slot. However, you can call them anytime from the moment you get the notification of the booking up to the scheduled time. 

So anytime that you have five free minutes, you can make the call. Once you submit your consult form, the appointment will be completed and that time slot will be freed up in your schedule. 

But if you aren’t able to call before the scheduled time, don’t worry. Turning on OnDemand doesn’t mean that you have to call ahead of the scheduled time, it just means you now have that option. 

The lightning bolt can help you get more consult requests

Specialists who have OnDemand enabled get more consult requests. Primary care practitioners appreciate being able to potentially get an earlier call on the fly. Within a week of enabling OnDemand, Daniel had a 20% increase in consults. 

Trust is the foundation of consulting. The more we trust, the more we can accomplish together. On Virtual Hallway, trust is the foundation of the consulting process. When someone sends a consult request to a specialist, they trust that the specialist will be ready, willing and able to help them. The specialist trusts that the family physician or nurse practitioner will integrate their discussion in the patient’s care.

Trust is at the core of all meaningful relationships.

A great biography can accelerate the development of trust. When someone is considering consulting with you, they can review your biography to get a sense of who you are. 

Write in the first person

You don’t have to be a great writer to create a warm, inviting description. We recommend writing in the first person. While academics make for great biographies at conferences, what we’ve found that on Virtual Hallway a more personal touch primes the development of the clinical relationship. 

Imagine that you are describing to a friend, or a clinician you have just met, who you are and what you do. What comes to mind immediately? Chances are that these cues will fit well into your biography. 

Though you may want to list off all of your academic credentials, resist going into too much depth. Highlight the most important aspects of your clinical work and your background. Feel free to list a couple of interesting things about you as a person too. This helps set the expectations for the phone call

Keep it brief

Think about your state of mind when you’re getting through your clinical day. You are often trying to get a lot of things done quickly and efficiently. Write your bio for scanning, not reading. 

Include important information at the beginning of your description so that it doesn’t get lost.

Have a look at other people’s biographies when writing your own. See what you like about theirs, and incorporate it into your own. 

These simple practices will increase consult requests and maximize your time.

In the past several months, we’ve seen consult numbers increase as awareness of phone consult has increased. As practitioners learn that it is possible to consult with specialists whenever it’s needed, a further increase in requests is likely.

We’ve learned that a few simple practices can increase the number of phone consult requests you receive. Adhering to these practices can fill your calendar and generate the income you want from phone consults. 

Update your biography and have a photo

Did you know that you can add a biography and photo to your profile? That way, physicians and nurse practitioners will know a bit about you before they send a consult. It can also help you receive consults that are more specific to your area of expertise. 

Adding a biography and profile photo is simple. Login to your portal, select the Account tab. Scroll to the bottom of the screen. Under Public Profile Info you can update your Bio. Under Public Profile Picture you can upload a photo of yourself. 

Be available at the busiest times

You already have a schedule that involves clinics, teaching, committees and other commitments. Look for gaps in between meetings, on a drive between clinic sites, or on the drive to or from work. Sometimes these gaps might be prime time for phone consults. 

Family physicians and nurse practitioners tend to book most consults during midday, at the end of the day or early in the morning (before clinic starts). So if you have time available during those windows, consider making yourself available. Remember, you can make yourself available for as long or as little as you like. If all you have is ten minutes, then you can block off a ten minute slot. That ten minute slot may be exactly what a family doctor is looking for.  

Block off a lot of time

There is a strategy that works for specialists who are busy, but have practices where stepping out of the room for 5-10 minutes isn’t disruptive. If this fits with your practice, you might consider making yourself available for larger periods of time. While you might not get fully filled up, you will get more consult requests. It’s no coincidence that specialists with the most availability also get the most consult requests.  

Keep your buffer low

You control how far in advance people must book consults with you. We call this the consult buffer. Your buffer can be as short as one hour, which means people can book a 2 p.m. consult at 1p.m. Lowering your consult buffer is an effective method of getting more consults.

To adjust your buffer login to your portal, click the Account tab. Then click Preferences. Here you can adjust you buffer duration. 

Be open to reconsulting

Being part of Virtual Hallway means being part of a community of practitioners. Over time you will develop clinical relationships with colleagues from around the province. Specialists often get repeat consults from the same practitioners because they have built solid working relationships. 

However, you may also get repeat consults on the same patients you have consulted about. This is a feature that allows continuity of care. Sometimes more than one call is needed to get a patient along the right path. A lot of specialists encourage family physicians and nurse practitioners to reconsult if the recommendations made in the call or not effective, or if the clinical situation changes. 

You might even consider including a line to that effect in your note. This lets the family doctor or nurse practitioner know that you want to hear from them again.

Notify your waitlist

Specialists have waitlists and you’re likely no different. Consider letting people who send traditional referrals to you know that you’re also available for phone consults. In a lot of cases, many of those patients’ problems might be fully addressed by a phone consult and not need to see you for the traditional referral. 

Many specialists inform referral sources that they are available for phone consults. When these specialists receive a traditional referral, they will send a note (usually by fax) to the referral source that their patient is on their waitlist. 

Along with that note they also inform them that they are available more quickly for phone consults on Virtual Hallway. 

This gives the referral source an extra option to more quickly help their patient.

Seeing the impact of your consults at a glance makes it easier to understand how phone consults can impact your practice.

Helping healthcare providers make faster decisions is the driving force behind every update we make. Previously, physicians and nurse practitioners weren't able to easily visualize the impact that their phone consult practice was having on patient care.

Our new performance page gives you real-time access to key statistics about your history of phone consults, as well as averages for all users of the platform. This can allow you to see the impact that your consults are having in providing faster, effective care to your patients.

Track historical measures of your consult impacts

With the performance page, you’re able to track and compare metrics such as platform averages and consult patterns over time.

A few of the measures that can be tracked include:

  • number of consults
  • number of patients impacted
  • estimated earnings (for fee-for-service providers)
  • projected earnings (for fee-for-service providers)

Ready to check out your performance page?

Start using your performance page now by logging in and clicking on the performance page tab.

Setting up Practice Group Accounts are a breeze and can maximize your workflow efficiency.

Teamwork is at the heart of good medical practice. Most physician practices involve a team of professionals, and can include administrative staff, other physicians, nursing, learners, or allied health teams. While individual Virtual Hallway accounts are efficient and simple to use, setting up a clinic wide account can integrate into your current workflows, so that you don’t have to take time out of your day to set up a consult. 

Your administrative staff can manage your account

In most practices, administrative staff will manage schedules, bookings, faxes, referrals, emails, EMRs, and filing. Centralizing this information flow helps ensure that everything runs according to schedule in a cohesive manner. Virtual Hallway group practice accounts centralize all of your Virtual Hallway work with your administrative staff. From these accounts, your administrative staff can:

  • Book phone consults for you
  • Fill out consult request forms
  • Import forms to your EMR or paper file
  • Ensure that consult reports are reviewed

By setting these accounts up, once you determine that you would like to consult with a specialist on a patient’s care, your administrative staff can take care of all documentation and scheduling, so that all you have to do is pick up the phone when the specialist calls. 

Paper consult request forms can make it even easier

In busy practices, you might not have time to stop and complete an online consult request form. Virtual Hallway can provide you with paper pad consult request forms which you can complete, hand to your administrative staff, who can then complete the online consult request form and book the phone consult for you. This way, you don’t have to adjust your workflow for your patients to benefit from phone consults.

Setting up a group practice account

All you have to do is click here and we will get in touch with your clinic and get you set up with a clinic account within days. Virtual Hallway will work with your team to ensure you get set up smoothly, and can start setting up phone consults. 

Being a specialist on Virtual Hallway means you are now part of a solution to efficiently provide rapid, effective care to hundreds of thousands of patients who would otherwise be without specialist care, or sit for months on waitlists.

Joining Virtual Hallway means now being part of a community where family physicians and specialists can work together in real time for the best of large numbers of patients.

Block off availability

 The first step is to log into your calendar and block off times where family physicians and nurse practitioners can book phone consults with you. You can choose as much or as little time as you’d like. There are some strategies to consider to maximize the number of consults you receive. It takes a bit of time to really build up a big consult base, but with sticking to the basic principles it will happen.

Wait for your first consult request

It’ll come by text message and email. Make note of it, review the consult within your portal and ensure that it is a request that will work for a phone consult.

Make the call

At the time of the scheduled request, call the family physician. Discuss the case, ask lots of questions, get a sense of the family doctor’s impression of the problem. Come up with a plan together.

Document the call

Write up the call in the consult report form. It can be as short or as long as you wish, though we recommend you include a brief summary include any suggestions made. Record the provisional diagnosis and submit the report.

Billings

After you submit your consult report, we will bill provincial phone consult codes on your behalf. Then, once a month we will transfer you your billings along with a statement.

Your consult request form

Your consult request form is customizable. This form can ask family physicians to include as much or as little information as you would like to have. Some specialists would like to have a lot of information up front in the consult request form so that they can focus on recommendations during the call. Other specialists prefer to have a more basic form because they want the conversation to be more free flowing. It is up to you.

Duty of Care

The division of care within Virtual Hallway is clear: the Specialist is providing advice to the family physician based on the information provided in the consult request form and the call. However, the family physician is aware that the Specialist is not taking over care of the patient. Virtual Hallway is just that, a hallway consult. Except it can be done anywhere. And is documented. And reimbursed.

Reconsults

Family physicians can re-consult on patients with the same specialist. It is recommended that this not be done more frequently than 14 days because some jurisdictions do not permit billing more frequently for a given patient Than 14 days. However, reconsults can be an excellent way to ensure some continuity of care and follow up on recommendations made.

Office staff

Virtual Hallway accounts can be converted to Practice Group accounts. These accounts allow for a physicians office staff to access documentation for imporatation to EMRs, complete consult request forms, or complete consult reports.

First off, congratulations! And thank you! Phone consults are an essential part of solving the issue with waitlists in this country, and you are now part of the solution.

So you’ve received and email and text message that you’ve got your first phone consult. Here are some steps to take:

Take note of the date, time and phone number of the consult.

Input the information into your main calendar, either iCal, google calendar, or other favourite calendar. Set an alert, so that it will remind you ahead of the appointment. That way, all the information needed to connect will be automated.

Review the consult

Depending on your workflow you may want to review the consult immediately by logging into your Virtual Hallway account. We encourage specialists to do this ahead of time on the off chance that the consult request does not seem appropriate for a phone consult. If this is the case, you can cancel the consult request within the portal and include the reason so the family physician understands the reason for the declined consultation.

Be ready on the day of the consult

Nothing is worse than scrambling a minute before an appointment (though we’ve all done it!). Grab a quiet spot, open up the consult request, make the call and give your awesome, sage advice.

Document the call

Immediately after the call (or during the call if you’re a multitasker) document the call in the consult response form. Document the start and stop time of the call. Then outline the call and outline your recommendations. Consider wrapping up your consult request with a final line such as ‘If further questions arise or the clinical situation changes please re-consult.’

That’s the whole process. Virtual Hallway will bill on your behalf and transfer your billings. Now get ready for your next consult!

While Virtual Hallway phone consults have been booked at all times through the day, and week (including weekends), a fairly clear pattern of high volume times has emerged.

Which days are busiest?

End of the week. Thursday and Fridays tend to have the highest volume of bookings. Monday and Tuesday are the next most frequently booked days. Wednesday is the least popular weekday. Weekends are infrequently booked.

What time of day is busiest?

The most popular time of day for consult requests is between 12 and 4pm. The peak time is noon to 3 p.m. on Friday. The next most popular time is between 9 am and noon. Evenings between 3:30 and 7 receive a fair number of consult requests. This is followed by mornings between 8:00 and 9am.

No single strategy works best.

While there are times that are busier than others, receiving high volumes of consult requests ultimately depends upon a number of factors in addition to being available at high volume times.

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