The Ontario Health Teams are being introduced as an innovative model of care, set to transform the healthcare landscape in Ontario with new ways to organize and deliver services to patients and achieve better health outcomes. This connected health care system will be centered around patients, families, and caregivers, enabling patients to navigate the system and transition between providers. With its high-performing, integrated care delivery system, an OHT will offer seamless, coordinated care for patients, improving population health in the province.
Why the need for Ontario Health Teams?
No one can deny the fact that healthcare delivery in Ontario today needs to be revamped and re-imagined to stay sustainable and to deliver on its promise of improving care outcomes. In order to understand why there’s a need to overhaul the current system with Ontario Health Teams, it is important to understand the lacunas in the current system at play.
Some of the results of a disconnected, siloed healthcare system in Ontario are:
- Patients are kept waiting for very long periods, on all levels of care needed. The wait periods are growing everywhere.
- Hospitals are resorting to hallway care, jeopardizing the health and well-being of both patients and their caregivers alike, as hospital beds are underutilized and funding for new beds is not meeting the growth in demand.
- Leveraging technology to treat patients when and where they need it most and to get patients involved in their own care is an absolute need of the hour.
- At the end of a clinical interaction, clinicians may refer patients to other providers, prescribe drugs, order lab tests or imaging, or apply for supports such as assistive device coverage. Conventionally, these activities are fax-and-paper-based, resulting in significant administrative burden and provider burnout.
- The digital tools developed to address these problems have been developed in siloes, and there is significant fragmentation and that leads to too many solutions that are not interoperable.
- EMR integration is also not consistently available for all eService solutions, or all EMR users.
Therefore, to help create a more integrated ecosystem for patients and providers alike, the concept of Ontario Health Teams took seed. Here are some of the important questions that OHTs will answer once fully operational.
What does OHT mean for providers?
With Ontario Health Teams, knowledge and experience of healthcare providers will now be leveraged to provide integrated care to Ontarians with:
- Timely access to updated information
- Improved communication and collaboration with other HCPs
- Avoidance of duplication and unnecessary costs
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Access to learning resources
- Improved information management
- Improved clinical decision-making and quality of care
- Reduced administrative burden
What does OHT mean for patients?
With fully operational Ontario Health Teams, patients will be able to experience connected care – one where their primary care teams and specialists collaborate over a single platform to improve care outcomes.
- Patients can expect to be closely monitored and experience seamless healthcare journey across various points-of-care.
- The ER doctor will be able to access provincial data, with the patient’s consent, and check medication records.
- The patients need not repeat their medical history multiple number of times nor will they have to repeat tests which have been already issued.
- At the time of discharge, the patient will receive a care plan and may be eReferred to a different specialist. They may also go through an eConsultation if the specialist is not available.
- Their family physician will receive eNotifications informing them of the hospital admission and treatment received by the patient.
- The patient’s recovery may be monitored by a specialist through a virtual video visit with the findings recorded in their integrated health record.
Eventually the care delivered through Ontario Health Teams would be connected and fully shared across the Ontario Health Teams network including hospitals, home care providers, acute care providers, primary care providers, doctors’ offices and mental health providers.
To learn more about enabling integrated care solutions in an Ontario Health Team, visit here.