The Ontario government approved an additional 13 new Ontario Health Teams across the province and announced it is providing $2.4 million in support for improving patient and connected care. The Ontario Health Team are charting a new course to deliver care by bringing together health care providers and organizations and binding them as one coordinated team to improve patient experience and outcomes. This new collaborative care model is helping the province provide an integrated response to COVID-19 and end hallway health care.
Providing details on this new development, Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care said:
“Today’s investment will not only help our province respond more effectively to the current global pandemic, but it will also help us end hallway healthcare and build a better, patient-focused health care system for the future,” said Premier Ford. “While these new teams will provide better support for more Ontarians, we won’t stop until every person and every community in Ontario has access to this new improved model of care.”
Ontario Health Teams is an initiative of the Government of Ontario to better connect and integrate healthcare facilities across the province. With OHTs, patients will get seamless access to care from one provider to another including hospitals, home care providers, and community health clinics, with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan. While the focus on establishing these health teams has wavered since the onset of the pandemic, the addition of these 13 new Ontario Health Teams brings the total to 42 teams which will cover 86 per cent of the province’s population at maturity.
Today, Ontario Health Teams are starting to coordinate programs to link disparate hospital systems, primary care clinics, long-term care homes, virtual care services, online appointment booking and even patients’ access to their health information digitally.
“While still in its early stages, Ontario Health Teams are already breaking down long-standing barriers to better connect care for both patients and our frontline heroes,” said Minister Elliott. “These teams have demonstrated remarkable responsiveness to the COVID-19 outbreak by helping to address challenges in a variety of areas, and they are essential to building a connected health care system centred around the needs of patients.”
“COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of continuous learning: the more we learn, the better we can protect ourselves, including our residents in long-term care,” said Minister Fullerton. “The coordination of care through Ontario Health Teams is a significant collaborative initiative that supports our commitment to modernizing long-term care in Ontario.”
As more and more Ontario Health Teams are authorized, meaningful engagement and partnership with patients, families and caregivers will become a key consideration for providing care and improving how Ontarians experience a health care system focused on patient outcomes.