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eHealth Centre of Excellence Participates in AFHTO 2019

The eHealth Centre of Excellence was delighted to be invited to participate in two presentations at this year’s AFHTO (Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario) conference.


The first presentation, “What the Fax? Improving Patient Care With Ocean eReferral” was led by the System Coordinated Access (SCA) Program Delivery Teams. The teams demonstrated the value of the Ocean eReferral tool, which functions from within a primary care provider’s EMR, or internet browser, to make the referral process more seamless and efficient for providers and patients. Since going live in August 2017, over 65,000 eReferrals have been processed and Ocean eReferral has since expanded to additional regions across Ontario.


For our next presentation, “The Digital Health Toolbox: Enabling High-Performance Teams In The Delivery Of Integrated, Patient-Centred Care,” members from the eHealth Centre of Excellence gave an overview of the entire suite of digital health tools that we support – Virtual Visits, eConsult, Tablets, EMR forms and tools, eReferral and Electronic Health Record (EHR) tools – all of which are available for use today, with adoption support offered by our team of experts. These tools can be available to Ontario Health Teams.


This session, which was attended by approximately 150 healthcare professionals, CEOs, Executive Directors and staff, highlighted how these tools can be used together to support integrated care for patients across a spectrum of needs. 


We ended the talk with a call to action:


How can your team leverage the tools presented to support the care they provide to their patients? Connect with us to support your journey as you transition into Ontario Health Teams! 



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A small challenge can go a long way!

Our eCE team loves a great challenge, which is evident in our latest Food Bank donation competition! Each of the four teams were assigned a donation category and were given two weeks to fill their Food Bank donation boxes.


Congratulations to “The Lucky Team” who won the challenge!



At the end of the day, the biggest winner is The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. With combined efforts, our teams donated 303 items and $820 in donations. These donations will be used to assist 1 in 20 households in Waterloo Region who are in need of food assistance.


Since hunger can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, The Food Bank relies on community support to assist households in our region all year around.  



Did you know?
  • 34,408 people – 35% of who are children – access emergency hamper and community meal programs as well as many other vital supports.  

  • Last year, The Food Bank acquired and distributed 4,523,167 pounds of food to a network of 100+ community programs and agency partners.

  • 1,600 community meals are distributed every day are distributed every day, with all food groups equally represented.


How can you help?


The Food bank experiences a significant drop in donations during the summer, which makes summertime the perfect time to donate! The Full Bellies. Happy Hearts. ½ million meal challenge kicked off on June 1 and is running until August 31. Gather your workplace together, divide up into teams and challenge each other to see who can bring in the most donations!


Fore more information about The Full Bellies. Happy Hearts. ½ million meal challenge, click here.


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Virtual Visits wins the Patient Care Innovation Team Award at the 2019 CHIA Gala!

Congratulations to our QBIC team on their Patient Care Innovation Award at the Canadian Health Informatics Awards (CHIA) Gala!


The award recognizes a for-profit healthcare ICT company and client team that have successfully implemented a health-IT solution that has positively impacted patient care in innovative ways and honours the private and public sector team effort.


Since VirtualCare went live 12 months ago, 67 primary care providers (PCPs) are registered, and 77% have conducted more than 3 visits with their patients. Patients have requested virtual visits with their PCP for reasons such as medication and prescriptions, to follow up on test results, to address new health issues, and discuss chronic conditions.



“The ability to have a virtual visit with my doctor reduces the need for a 45-minute drive to see my doctor for health concerns that can be dealt with through a virtual visit. My doctor monitors my progress while transitioning medications, without the need for me to visit their office. The virtual care application is easy to use and such a convenient way to get the care I need.” – Patient


Virtual Visits provide an efficient and convenient way for patients to connect with their primary care provider so they can be informed and engaged in their care. It is the ongoing dedication to digital health innovation that makes programs like Virtual Visits a success in our community!


Thank you to everyone for your involvement and continued support to expand digital health!


For more information on Virtual Visits or digital healthcare tools and services, please email:

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Digital Health Executive of the Year is awarded to Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia!

Our team is excited to announce that our Managing Director, Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia is this year’s recipient of the Canadian Health Informatics Award (CHIA), Digital Health Executive of the Year!


The award is granted to an individual whose strong leadership has helped advance Digital Health or Virtual Health in Canada.


As the Managing Director at the eHealth Centre of Excellence (eCE), Dr. Alarakhia’s leadership has guided our organization to strive for digital health excellence over the past several years! The eCE has developed and deployed digital health tools and services that have strongly influenced health outcomes and driven improvements within the healthcare system.


The recent announcement of 10,000 Virtual Visits through the Quality Based Improvements in Care (QBIC) program, and the 41,000 (and climbing!) eReferrals recently sent, both demonstrate the community’s confidence in the usage of digital health across the region.


Additional milestones and high adoption rates are not far behind the two most recent announcements regarding Virtual Visits and eReferrals! The image below provides a comprehensive summary of how digital health is being used and adopted across the many facets of healthcare:



Thank you to all our stakeholders for your consistent involvement in the development and progression of digital health in our healthcare community! It is the unwavering support from all of you that continues to drive innovation forward and allows our team at the eCE to continue deploying digital health technology.  


If you have an interest in integrating digital health into your practice, send us an email and we would be happy to help you start your onboarding process!




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2018 A Year in Review


It's been a busy and very productive year at the eHealth Centre of Excellence! We are excited to announce that 2018 was a year was full of new milestones across our System Coordinated Access (SCA) team, Quality Based Improvement and Care (QBIC) team and the connecting South West Ontario (cSWO) team!


Let’s look at some of the year’s highlights:





What else happened in 2018?


June 2018


The SCA program celebrated a huge milestone! In June, the program reached 5,000 eReferrals processed in Waterloo Wellington!


Current Update as of December 2018: Over 17,000 eReferrals have been processed in Waterloo Wellington!


July 2018


Through the QBIC program, there was increased access to specialists through eConsult.



October 2018 


Our teams were at Health Quality Ontario and presented posters on the following: 


Integrating to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) to Tackle Stigma: An Evaluation of Using Tablets to Start Mental Health Assessments in Primary Care


The Digital Health Drug Repository Improves Patient Safety by Supporting Prescribing Decisions and Medication Reconciliation


Developing Strong Communication Between Providers and Patients Through the Deployment of an Electronic Referral Solution Across Ontario



November 2018


Digital Health week was a great success this year and our team celebrated with a week full of webinars! If you missed them during November, click on the links below for full access to the presentations!


Leveraging Partnerships to Enhance Patient Care   

Virtual Care in WWLHIN    

Clinical Value of Standardized Primary Care Information


In addition to a great Digital Health Week, our team celebrated the launch of the Palliative Care tool being available to Clinicians in Waterloo Wellington! Read more about the Palliative Care tool by clicking here.


To end off the month, our Managing Director, Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, received an Award of Excellence from the Ontario College of Family Physicians!



December 2018


To wrap up the end of another year, our eCE team gathered a collection of gifts for oneROOF Youth Services in Kitchener, ON! To learn more about oneROOF, please visit their website:





















A message from the eHealth Centre of Excellence Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia


It’s been another exciting and busy year at the eHealth Centre of Excellence (eCE)! Over 2018, our team at the eCE has continued working with stakeholders across Waterloo Wellington and the province to ensure they receive the tools they need to deliver the best health care possible. We are very excited to see how far Digital Health has come over the past year as our team continues to strive for excellence! Electronic Referral is now live in five LHINs and is contributing to reductions in wait times for hip and knee replacements. Over 4,000 virtual visits have been completed and have improved the access patients have to their own primary care provider. Pharmacies now have access to provincial drug data which supports their role in medication reconciliation. All of these initiatives have been implemented by working closely with health care providers and patients. Thank you to everyone for your continued support. I would like to pass along my warmest wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!



Thank you for another great year of innovation in Digital Health!





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Kidney Talks, Achieving Excellence Together & Hacking Health Café

It’s conference season! In addition to eHealth 2018 and WWCRQI, the eHealth Centre of Excellence has participated in a number of other events that recently.


Kidney Talks 2018

eHealth Centre of Excellence Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia (pictured left) gave a presentation at Kidney Talks 2018, hosted by the Ontario Renal Network (ORN), and spoke about how the Kidney Wise toolkit is now available in a format that can be integrated with primary care electronic medical records (EMRs). For more information on this tool, take a look at the QBIC (Quality Based Improvements in Care) catalogue!

Achieving Excellence Together 2018

eHealth Centre of Excellence team members Allie Piatkowski and Lori-Anne Huebner participated in a Health Links panel that highlighted different types of Health Links evaluations in Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) across the province. Their presentation focused on the evaluation that they had completed on the Health Links approach to care in the Waterloo Wellington LHIN, to understand how it is impacting patients and care providers. To take a look at their Health Links case studies, please click here.


Hacking Health Café

As part of Communitech’s Peer2Peer Network, Hacking Health Waterloo provides a forum where technology creators and health care professionals can connect to discuss and collaborate on issues with the hopes of improving health care in Waterloo Region. To help foster this collaboration among the digital health community, Hacking Health Cafés are held monthly across various locations in the region.


The eHealth Centre of Excellence was invited to the June Hacking Health Café to present on the Waterloo Wellington VirtualCare pilot program, and QBIC team members Meghan Brenner-

Burgoyne (pictured below, left) and Sara Di Gregorio provided an overview and background of the project, as well as a live demonstration of the VirtualCare platform. The audience was heavily engaged and the presentation yielded many great questions that sparked some interesting discussion – it was a pleasure to meet and network with this diverse group of professionals and we hope to join another Hacking Health Café again in the future!




We’re always looking for more opportunities to share knowledge and spread the word on the digital health services available (or coming soon).


For more information, please feel free to explore our website or contact





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Showcasing innovations at WWCRQI 2018

A number of team members from the eHealth Centre of Excellence were thrilled to be invited to participate in the McMaster Waterloo Wellington Clinical Research and Quality Improvement Symposium, an annual event which puts the spotlight on local clinical research and quality improvement initiatives. This year’s symposium took place on May 30, and was attended by over 250 students, clinicians, professionals, and researchers from across the Waterloo Wellington region.



Alexandra Piatkowski and Billy Bostad presented a poster based on some of the research they’ve done for the connecting South West Ontario (cSWO) Program Primary Care Data Sharing (PCDS) proof of concept, which is exploring the feasibility of making data from primary care electronic medical records (EMRs) shareable with the cSWO Regional Clinical Viewer, ClinicalConnect™. You can see their full poster presentation here.


There was also a poster presentation by Jennifer La from our QBIC (Quality Based Improvements in Care) Program, which took a closer look at the benefits of giving patients tablets to fill out mental health assessments while they’re in the waiting room. Her poster can be viewed here.


Heba Tallah Mohammed from our System Coordinated Access (SCA) Program was also on hand to present her poster – available here – on the benefits of the electronic referral (eReferral) platform currently being deployed by the SCA team.


The eHealth Centre of Excellence also hosted a booth this year (pictured left), giving attendees the chance to learn more about the various digital health services and tools we offer.


And after the event, we were excited to learn that our participation was recognized with the following awards:






For more information on this year’s WWCRQI, please visit:




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eHealth Centre of Excellence participates in e-Health 2018

Canada’s annual e-Health conference, now in its 18th year, offers a fantastic opportunity to learn about digital health initiatives that are taking place across the country, as well as share learnings about the local solutions that are working for us with the conference’s 1,500+ delegates (representing experts from across the spectrum of healthcare and information technologies).


This year, the eHealth Centre of Excellence was invited to give a number of presentations that showcased some of the work we’re supporting to deploy digital health technologies in our region.


Michelle Cousins (pictured right) gave two presentations on the connecting South West Ontario (cSWO) Program’s Primary Care Data Sharing Program (PCDs) proof of concept, which is exploring the feasibility of sharing data from primary care electronic medical records (EMRs) with other providers in the patient’s circle of care. For an update on recently PCDS activities, take a look at the latest cSWO update.


Lori-Anne Huebner (pictured right) gave a poster presentation on “A Model of Practice to Support Vendor Procurement” – the poster is available here, and takes a look at the innovation procurement model used by our System Coordinated Access (SCA) Program to find a vendor capable of building an electronic referral (eReferral) solution that could meet a number of 

complex needs. That eReferral solution has since gone live in Waterloo Wellington (with over 5,000 eReferrals now sent!), and is in the process of being adopted in other regions across Ontario.


Danika Walden also presented on the innovative methodologies used to procure a technology solution for Virtual Visits in Waterloo Wellington, which is currently in the midst of a year-long proof of concept.


And finally, Ted Alexander (pictured left) – our Vice-President of Partnerships & Clinical Innovations – gave a talk on the unique digital health service bundle that we offer, as our region’s one-stop resource for ehealth tools and services .


Overall, we were delighted to be able to participate and share updates on the many exciting ehealth initiatives we’re currently supporting – and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event!



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Coming up: WWCRQI Symposium 2018

Our Benefits Realization (BR) team will be presenting some of our digital health research at this year’s annual McMaster Waterloo Wellington Clinical Research and Quality Improvement (WWCRQI) Symposium – we hope to see you there! Details are posted below.


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2017 year in review

It’s been another busy and productive year here at the eHealth Centre of Excellence (eCE), as we continue to support primary care and other health service providers with the adoption of digital health tools.


A few highlights from our organization as a whole:


Program level highlights:

For highlights from  the connecting South West Ontario (cSWO) Program, click here.

For highlights from System Coordinated Access and the electronic referral (eReferral) solution, click here.

For QBIC (Quality Based Improvements in Care, click here.



A Message from eHealth Centre of Excellence Director Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia


As you can see, it’s been a year full of exciting milestones – that said, we recognize that we can’t do the work we do without the continued support from stakeholders and healthcare providers in our region. On behalf of everyone here at the eHealth Centre of Excellence I’d like to offer my thanks, as well as my warmest wishes for a safe and happy holiday season. We’ll see you in 2018! 


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