Improving Oncology Curbside Consults
Corey Zankowski

Curbside consults have been around since the beginning of the medical profession. They have been integral to the medical culture emphasizing genuine patient care and professional courtesy.

Like other physicians, oncologists often engage in curbside consults. Curbside consults are informal conversations between oncologists to exchange information or advice about managing a specific patient. (We discuss curbsides further here.) Conversations with Primum community oncologists reveal that many engage in up to five curbside consults per week. As important as they are to routine clinical practice, there are few specialized tools to facilitate and manage curbside consultations.

How do oncologists engage in curbside consults today?

The curbside consult got its name from the serendipitous meeting between colleagues in their clinic’s parking lot. In recent years, technology has pushed curbsides out of the parking lot and into unsecured email and text messages. Unfortunately, email and text are not ideal for curbside consults because they often produce unorganized and disjointed chains of communication that are easily overlooked or lost, especially when the treating physician is not known to the consultant. The informal nature of a curbside consult often means you have little idea if or when you’ll receive a response. Additionally, physicians often confer with physicians they know rather than with specialists most knowledgeable about their patient’s conditions. This tendency continues despite the increased ability to identify and contact experts via publications, conferences, and institutional websites.

Do curbside consults meet the needs of community oncologists? 

Most oncologists haven’t stopped and considered the multiple friction points that, if eliminated, would make curbsides more efficient, effective, and enjoyable. As a general oncologist seeking advice, you likely experienced at least one of the following issues with curbsides:

It would be great if a community of curated experts were available to share their knowledge with you promptly and without judgment. And community oncologists aren’t the only individuals concerned with the standard curbside consult.

Curbsides don’t produce a rewarding experience for expert oncology specialists.

Oncology specialists are motivated to share their expertise to educate other oncologists because it benefits patients. In some cases, it is even educational for the consultant. It feels good to have an impact beyond the walls of your institution, especially when it helps improve the quality of care in the community. Curbsides help maintain professional relationships for future referrals. Unfortunately, the lack of dedicated tools for virtual curbside consults detracts from the positive experience of helping a colleague.

As an oncology specialist, have you ever:

If you’ve experienced any of these minor inconveniences, a platform to organize, document, and track your curbsides may be right for you.

How can a dedicated technology platform improve your curbside consultations?

Given the prevalence of curbside consults in oncology, a dedicated platform could enhance the experience significantly. The ideal virtual curbside platform would be secure and HIPAA compliant. It would make it easy to find the right expert and guarantee a timely, professional response to your particular case. The platform would track all your consults in one convenient location so that inquiries never disappear into the ether. It would store all questions in a searchable medical library. You would be able to reopen consults and append the patient outcome so that everyone could learn the impact of the knowledge exchange. Additionally, the ideal platform automatically measures and reports curbside consultation utilization, efficiency, and efficacy. Primum is this dedicated platform for your curbside consults.

A well-executed curbside can result in more appropriate determinations of when to refer a patient to a specialist and when to treat locally, saving the health system money and improving patient convenience and satisfaction.  

Primum believes all patients deserve high-quality care close to home, regardless of where they live. We are committed to providing community oncologists with the expert knowledge to manage their patient’s care confidently.

Go to to discover the ultimate platform for curbside consults.

Corey Zankowski

Corey is Primum's CEO. Prior to leading Primum, he was an accomplished C-Suite executive with 20+ years' experience in the highly competitive oncology medical device industry.