What Is RACE?

Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise: An Innovative Model of Shared Care

For over twelve years, Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) program has been connecting primary care providers to their specialist colleagues for urgent advice within two hours. Managed by Providence Health Care, and with more than 80,000 calls to date, RACE streamlines the patient journey through improved provider communication and timely specialist advice. RACE is funded in partnership by Doctors of BC and the BC government through the Shared Care Committee.

Primary care providers can either place an online request (www.raceapp.ca) or call a telephone line (1-877-696-2131) for urgent specialist advice within two hours.

In the RACE model, online requests and telephone calls are routed directly to specialists’ cell phones for “just in time” advice.

RACE can help simplify the patient journey, avoid system costs, and allows for direct connection with specialists. It can help primary care providers with care plans and managing patients in their office. RACE specialist providers are asked to provide collegial and educational advice that will help build relationships and capacity of primary care providers.

Metrics collected show that RACE can avoid unnecessary specialist referrals and emergency department visits. See Vancouver 2021 survey report results below:

  • 74% of calls avoided an emergency department visit
  • 76% of calls avoided a referral to a specialist
  • 95% of users satisfied with their RACE interaction

Please note: RACE is not a full consult service, virtual patient visit or an emergency video call.

Available Monday to Friday, 0800-1700 for physicians, nurse practitioners, medical residents and midwives only


  • 85,000+ calls in the first 12 years
  • 800+ specialists on call roster
  • 4300+ primary care users
  • ~1500 calls/requests per month (~18,000/year)
  • 74% of calls avoided an emergency department visit (Vancouver 2021 Survey Report)
  • 76% of calls avoided a referral to a specialist (Vancouver 2021 Survey Report)
  • 95% of users satisfied with the RACE interaction (Vancouver 2021 Survey Report)


Downloadable Files

Watch our “What is RACE Videos” here!

RACE Publications

Wilson, M., Mazowita, G., Ignaszewski, A., Levin, A., Barber, C., Thompson, D., Barr, S., Lear, S., & Levy, R. (2016). Family physician access to specialist advice by telephone: Reduction in unnecessary specialist consultations and emergency department visits. Canadian family Physician, 62(11), e668-e676.

Canadian Nurses Association. (2013). The RACE to better primary health care. Leadership in primary health care: 2013 series.

Kramer, L. (2013). RACE program provides rapid specialist consults.CMAJ, 185(18) E821.

Barber, C. (2011). Shared Care brings specialists and family doctors closer for better patient care. BCMJ, 53, 1.

Lear, S. A., MacKinnon, D., Farias-Godoy, A., Nasmith, J., Mazowita, G., & Ignaszewski, A. (2010). Rapid access to cardiology expertise: an innovative program to provide telephone support for family physicians. Healthcare quarterly (Toronto, Ont.), 13(4), 56-60.

RACE in the News

Vancouver Sun/National Post – Phone-in programs gives family doctors fast access to specialists. http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Phone+program+gives+family+doctors+fast+access+specialists/8924791/story.html