Innovative digital health initiatives

Article courtesy of Ali Somers and Mir Ali

Digital health care is a rapidly growing field and ties into almost every aspect of the health-care system. Implementing cohesive and thoroughly tested digital health care solutions is necessary for creating a health-care system that works well for all Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (FLA) community members. While in-person care will always remain a top priority, digital improvements create new opportunities for providers to manage care more efficiently and give individuals the power to manage their own health journeys. Those are some of the reasons the Digital support structure of the FLA Ontario Health Team (FLA OHT) has been working hard to analyze the current digital health landscape in our regions and actively pursue funding opportunities to enhance digital support for individuals and health-care providers. In our vision for the People-Centred Health Home, being able to access health-care information and resources 24/7 is crucial for individuals to have the best possible health-care experience.

Creating a better integrated health-care system through innovative digital health initiatives

Over the past few months several key projects have begun to support the FLA OHT’s priority working groups and populations. And, broader Ontario Health initiatives are underway to give health-care providers access to best-in-class technologies to improve care and ensure every person has access to the appropriate and necessary health information. The digital health-care landscape is constantly evolving and the FLA OHT plans to be involved every step of the way to create the health-care system our community needs.

The Ministry of Health recently approved funding for Ontario Health Teams to explore the use of Online Appointment Booking (OAB) solutions with the goal of streamlining workflows, improving patient experience and centralizing bookings to achieve more integrated care. This is a joint project between the FLA and Lanark, Leeds and Grenville OHTs involving 28 primary-care providers who will test the efficiency and utility of the online booking system. The ability to send online consultation between primary care providers and specialists is a priority for the FLA OHT with the potential to reduce wait times and streamline care.

In an effort to advance online consultations, the FLA OHT is piloting its own project to implement a centralized referral clerk who will send eConsults on behalf of several primary care providers. Alongside Ontario Health and other East Region OHTs, the FLA OHT is also developing a 24/7 health-care navigation solution for both individuals and providers as the current system is very challenging to navigate. Since December, the FLA OHT has been engaging partners and stakeholders to gather navigation information and working with Ontario Health to develop a plan for improving the navigation and referral process. New digital project opportunities are constantly emerging for the FLA OHT. As work progresses, we will keep our OHT partners informed so that everyone has access to new information and processes.