Insights (Essays)

Insights (Essays) November 2012

Linked Healthcare

Deb Matthews

. . . We need to work to link all the health care providers in a given geographic area who are providing care to individuals in the top 1% or top 5%. So that primary care docs know when their patients are getting care elsewhere – in the hospital, from the specialist, from home care. So that all the providers have the same information about a patient: what medication they are on, what tests they have had and what those results are. . .

Then we need that network of linked health care providers to work as a team to collectively manage the needs of those patients with the greatest needs, in partnership with family and community, so they move smoothly through the system, always confident that they’re being looked after. That they don’t fall through the “gaps” in the system. They will work to ensure that there is one “most responsible provider” for each patient. Someone responsible for making sure that that patient is getting the right care, at the right time, in the right place. That the patient is getting pro-active care. To keep people out of hospital, out of long-term care.

. . . that’s why I’m very happy to announce that in coming weeks, you’ll be hearing about a competition for early-adopters of this new way of caring for people.

Working with the LHINS, we will be asking partners to work together on their proposals and describe how they would reach our common goals, like better care for high needs patients, and lower re-admission rates. We recognize that the proposals from rural and northern communities will look different from those in the cities. But start talking now. The potential here is unlimited.

I see a time, somewhere in the future, where this integrated model will exist right across the province. But we need to start learning about how best to provide coordinated, pro-active care, and I don’t think there’s a better way to do that then to put out a call to Ontario’s most innovative health care leaders.

Our job, at the Ministry is to enable this kind of transformation.

Our new motto is: if it’s better for patients, and it’s better value for money, then YES, WE CAN!

Deputy Saäd Rafi has even appointed a new Associate Deputy Minister, Helen Angus, to drive this kind of transformation. I call her the “silo-buster”. Her job is to remove barriers to innovation, so we can provide better care to our patients and get better value for money.

About the Author(s)

Taken from a speech delivered by Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario at the final conference session of HealthAchieve, Nov. 7, 2012.

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