Diagnostic Imaging in Waterloo Wellington hospitals coming soon to the Ocean eReferral Network
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
The eHealth Centre of Excellence’s local System Coordinated Access (SCA) team in Waterloo Wellington is excited to announce that seven hospitals – Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s General Hospital, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Guelph General Hospital, Groves Memorial Community Hospital, Louise Marshall Hospital and Palmerston Hospital – are set to receive Diagnostic Imaging (DI) referrals through the Ocean eReferral Network as of the second week of March, 2018!
Coordinated access work has focused on standardizing requisition forms across these seven hospitals, and a standardized Ocean eReferral Network eForm based on these requisition forms with appropriateness criteria is currently being finalized.
The local SCA team is also working with the Waterloo Wellington DI Council to engage DI specialists within the hospitals mentioned above, with training already starting at Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and Guelph General Hospital so far.
“There is a high volume of referrals for Diagnostic Imaging, and the Ocean eReferral Network will help to make the referral process quicker and everyone will know the status of a referral,” says eHealth Centre of Excellence Director Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia.
The wait time between seeing your doctor and seeing a specialist can be challenging – patients are often left in the dark about when their appointment will be, which only adds to what is already a stressful situation. That’s why we’re excited to be building an electronic referral (eReferral) system that includes regular communications back to the patient and their care circle. Patients can now receive email notifications on the status of their referral and appointment details, and can confirm appointments online. Shortly patients will be able to do both through an online portal as well as book their own appointments for self-management programs, and look up available resources in the community – complete with wait times.
Digital health is important to me because technologies like our new eReferral system bring the patient into the conversation and provides them with the information they need to feel in control of their own health.
Just this month, the eCE was delighted to receive a Bright Lights award from the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO) in the category of Optimizing Use of Resources!
This award is a credit to the efforts of the SCA program – you can read more about it here!
The SCA program is funded by the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).
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Electronic Referral (eReferral) now available to all primary care providers in Waterloo Wellington!
Monday, October 16, 2017
Are you interested in using the Ocean eReferral Network to send seamless, standardized referrals to participating referral targets? The System Coordinated Access (SCA) program is now onboarding all primary care providers who would like to start using this quick and efficient online platform.
As of today (October 16), over 200 referrals have been sent since the system went live mid-August!
Benefits of Ocean eReferral Network include:
Integration with your electronic medical record (EMR), so you can send referrals quickly and directly
Standardized forms, which are updated automatically and information is pre-populated from your EMR
Notifications in your EMR regarding referral
A map-based directory of available services and programs, complete with wait times where available
Patients can choose to receive email notifications with referral status and appointment details
Patients can confirm appointments online
All costs covered by the SCA program
Training and on-site support can be provided
More referral targets in the Waterloo Wellington region are in the process of being added to Ocean, with initial focus on orthopedics, diabetes, chronic disease prevention and management (CDPM), diagnostic imaging, specialized geriatric services, and mental health and addictions.
If you are a primary care provider interested in signing up for Ocean, or have further questions, please contact SCA Change Management Specialist Katrine Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (226) 929-4363.
Click here to download a flyer and feel free to distribute!
On August 14, 2017, electronic referral (eReferral) went live within the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN). Early adopters in primary care are now able to use the Ocean eReferral Network to send referrals to participating orthopedic specialists, orthopedic central intake, diabetes programs and specialists, and self-management services in the region. This enhances the services that were already available through the Ocean eReferral Network over the last few years.
Over the coming months, the program will be turning its attention towards scaling the solution to a broader group of primary care users. This work will also include adding additional referral recipients with initial focus on diagnostic imaging, mental health and addictions, specialized geriatric services and integration with Caredove to allow for improved access to community support services.
Anyone interested in learning more about the SCA program or wanting to sign up for Ocean eReferral should please contact SCA Program Manager Lori Moran at Lori.Moran@ehealthCE.ca.
Announcement from the MOHLTC: SCA program and eReferral are expanding!
Thursday, August 10, 2017
The ministry has announced the release of new online tools to improve patient experience, including enhanced wait times reporting and information sharing between health care organizations and patients. We are excited to share as part of this announcement the province is investing $12.9 million over two years to support the expansion of the eHealth Centre of Excellence System Coordinated Access program model and the recently implemented Waterloo Wellington electronic referral (eReferral) system to additional LHINs.
In the news: System Coordinated Access supporting quicker referrals to orthopedic care
Monday, July 31, 2017
A recent article that ran in both the Kitchener Post and the Waterloo Record highlighted the central intake and electronic referral (eReferral) model that the eHealth Centre of Excellence’s System Coordinated Access (SCA) program is currently supporting. This model has been developed as one of the strategies to reduce the long wait times faced by patients residing in the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) who need access to specialized orthopedic care.
In the current state, primary care doctors rely on fax machines to send referrals to orthopedic specialists, and have no way of knowing which surgeon has the shortest wait time. For this reason, they may send multiple referrals to different specialists across the region, which ends up making the waiting lists even longer.
In order to decrease wait times, the SCA program has been working in partnership with the Waterloo Wellington Regional Coordination Centre (RCC) to expand their already successful central intake model for diabetes referral to include orthopedic central intake (OCI). This system allows a family doctor to send a referral to the OCI who then ensures all the supporting documentation and tests are attached, duplicate referrals are removed from the queue and the referral is sent along to the appropriate surgeon.
As the article notes, specialists often complain that the referrals they receive are incomplete and don’t contain the required information. This can lead to a further delay in the patient receiving the treatment they need.
To make this referral process even more streamlined and seamless, the SCA program has selected a vendor – a consortium of Think Research, CognisantMD, and the Centre for Effective Practice – to build an eReferral platform that will replace paper-based and fax processes and enable family doctors to make secure, online referrals to OCI and other healthcare specialists and services directly from the electronic medical records (EMRs).
The new system – called the Ocean eReferral Network – will allow doctors to track the status of the referral within their EMR with automatic notifications being sent to the patient all along the process. The system will also give the RCC access to data that will allow them to forward referrals to the surgeon with the shortest wait list.
The SCA program is now in process of deploying the Ocean eReferral Network to family doctors as well as orthopedic specialists and hospitals that provide orthopedic surgeries throughout the WWLHIN, with plans to integrate other healthcare services in the near future.
Zach Weston, Manager of Performance at the WWLHIN, spoke to the potential for expansion of this model.
“This is the model of care we anticipate will be used for access to all specialties,” he said. “Our target right now is orthopedics. We’ve got long waits that are a priority for our LHIN to improve, but we anticipate that this will be the approach that we see with ophthalmology, for example, for cardiology, etcetera.”
The System Coordinated Access (SCA) program is fast approaching the end of our electronic referral (eReferral) Proof of Concept. For the past year, we’ve been working in collaboration with a consortium of vendors – Think Research, CognisantMD, and the Centre for Effective Practice (CEP) – to develop an online eReferral solution that meets the specific needs of patients and healthcare providers in our community.
This strategy is unique in that it is built around the concept of first understanding the needs and frustrations that exist today in the referral space and building a solution to meet those needs versus a traditional out-of-box solution.
The first phase of this deployment has focused on referrals to Orthopedic Specialists, Diabetes programs, and Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CDPM) services. A key success to this model to date has been the dedicated group of clinicians, administration, system partners (such as the Waterloo Wellington Regional Coordination Centre) and patients and caregivers that have contributed their time and energy to the design process. As a result, over 250 enhancements have been made to the eReferral solution so far with more to come!
We have found there to be significant value in including clinicians and patients in the development, design and testing of the solution and using their feedback to improve both the process and product – with their help, we’re creating a solution that will work for the people actually using it!
If the Proof of Concept is successful, the SCA program will be looking to expand the eReferral solution to additional pathways in Waterloo Wellington, including in the next phase Diagnostic Imaging, Mental Health and Addictions, and Specialized Geriatrics Services, and will continue to onboard additional primary care physicians in the community as eReferral services grow. While this work in Waterloo Wellington marches on, the program will also be looking to expand the eReferral solution to other interested LHINs with an initial focus on orthopedic referrals.
Big milestone for orthopedic central intake in Waterloo Wellington!
Friday, May 26, 2017
The Waterloo Wellington Regional Coordination Centre (RCC) is a valued partner of the eHealth Centre of Excellence, and we’re delighted to share that they have recently reached a significant milestone – on May 16, they celebrated the one year anniversary of the launch of their Orthopedic Central Intake (OCI)!
What is OCI?
“OCI offers a consistent regional approach for primary care providers and nurse practitioners making referrals to orthopedic specialists,” explains Cheryl Hambly, Referral Administrator at the RCC. “They fax their referral to us, and we take over from there.”
OCI’s referral process is based on the success of RCC’s Diabetes Central Intake (DCI), which was established in 2011 by the RCC, hosted by Langs Community Health Centre.
Here’s how it works: when a referral is faxed to the OCI, the referral administrators will first check the referral to make sure it is complete and has the proper imaging and/or documentation that any given specialist may require. The referral administrators will then enter it in a database and direct the referral to the orthopedic specialist who is most appropriate depending on the problem area identified by the primary care provider and proximity to the patient.
Having one centralized location to send referrals means that there are fewer duplicate referrals and less referrals getting lost in the system. Clinicians and patients using the service have also expressed that they appreciate being able to call in to check on the status of their referral. “That’s part of what makes the job satisfying,” says Cheryl. “It’s nice to be the voice on the other end of the phone when they need updates or have any questions about the process.”
And word on the OCI seems to be spreading: Cheryl notes that they get new primary care providers signing up every week!
OCI is currently working with the eCE System Coordinated Access (SCA) program to move from a fax-based system to the Ocean electronic referral system, which is expected to be launched in the very near future.
If you are interested in learning more about OCI, please contact the RCC at:
In the news: SCA program's innovation procurement process
Friday, January 13, 2017
Recently, Canadian Healthcare Technology featured an article on the innovation procurement process that the SCA program used to select Think Research Consortium to design and deploy the new eReferral solution for our region (and potentially beyond).