New Southlake Community Ontario Health Team to Provide Better Connected Care for Patients
Ontario Health Teams Part of Province’s Plan to End Hallway Health Care
November 28, 2019 1:39 P.M. Ministry of Health
EAST GWILLIMBURY — Ontario is delivering on its commitment to end hallway health care and build a connected and sustainable health care system centred around the needs of patients. The province is introducing Ontario Health Teams, a new model of care that brings together health care providers to work as one team.
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, was at the York Region Paramedic Services Headquarters to announce the Southlake Community Ontario Health Team as one of the first 24 teams in the province to implement a new model of organizing and delivering health care that better connects patients and providers in their communities to improve patient outcomes. Through an Ontario Health Team, patients will experience easier transitions from one provider to another, including, for example, between hospitals and home care providers, with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan.
"This is an exciting time for health care in Ontario as we finally break down the long-standing barriers that have prevented care providers from working directly with each other to support patients throughout their health care journey," said Elliott. "Together with our health care partners, the Southlake Community Ontario Health Team will play an essential role in delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and building a connected and sustainable public health care system centred around the needs of patients."
The Southlake Community Ontario Health Team will create a local health care system that provides coordinated care for patients, reduces wait times, and leads to better heath outcomes for patients. The team will take the guess work out of navigating the health care system and will also improve access to secure digital health tools, including online health records and virtual care options. It will also work to reduce clinician burnout and lay the foundation for a sustainable future.
"With our new Southlake Community Ontario Health Team, patients will benefit from better integrated health care, with a seamless experience when moving between different health care services, providers and settings," said Elliott. "I would like to thank all the health care providers and organizations that helped plan the Southlake Community Ontario Health Team; there is lots of work to be done, but with their dedication and hard work, we will continue to improve health care in our communities and ensure Ontarians get the care they deserve."
As it continues its work to integrate care, the Southlake Community Ontario Health Team will put in place 24/7 navigation and care coordination services for patients and families. Patients will receive these services through their integrated primary care teams and the broader Ontario Health Team partners. This work will be implemented in phases and over time will provide care for everyone within Southlake Community Ontario Health Team's population. In the first year, the focus will be on supporting older adults with complex health care needs and adults with mental health and addictions challenges.
"The transformation of the province's health care system from one of siloes to integrated local Ontario Health Teams represents the most promising opportunity we've seen in decades to improve care for patients and families," said Arden Krystal, Co-Chair of the Southlake Community Ontario Health Team Planning Committee and the President and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre. "In addition to improved outcomes for patients, our Ontario Health Team will enhance patient experience, improve provider satisfaction, and increase value and efficiency in the system. We are thrilled to be moving forward as one of the first Ontario Health Teams."
"We know from other jurisdictions that rooting care coordination and navigation supports for patients within primary care can lead to dramatic improvements," said Dr. David Makary, the primary care lead on the Southlake Community Ontario Health Team Planning Committee. "We are excited to continue collaborating with dedicated primary care providers, along with patients, families and caregivers, to design and implement our Ontario Health Team and bring connected care to the communities we collectively serve."
The Southlake Community Ontario Health Team will begin implementing some of their proposed programs and services in 2020 and will communicate with patients and families about the changes and improvements they can expect in their community.
Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, which includes making investments and advancing new initiatives across four pillars:
- Prevention and health promotion: keeping patients as healthy as possible in their communities and out of hospitals.
- Providing the right care in the right place: when patients need care, ensure that they receive it in the most appropriate setting, not always the hospital.
- Integration and improved patient flow: better integrate care providers to ensure patients spend less time waiting in hospitals when they are ready to be discharged. Ontario Health Teams will play a critical role in connecting care providers and, in doing so, helping to end hallway health care.
- Building capacity: build new hospital and long-term care beds while increasing community-based services across Ontario.
- An Ontario Health Team will be responsible for delivering care for their patients, understanding their health care history, directly connecting them to the different types of care they need, and providing 24/7 help in navigating the health care system.
- Ontarians can be confident that they can continue to contact their health care providers as they always have to access the health care they need.
- The first wave of Ontario Health Teams is being approved after an extensive readiness assessment process, which involved significant time, collaboration, research and effort from partners across the health care sector.
- The government will continue working with its partners to review their applications to become an Ontario Health Team.
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