eHealth Centre of Excellence

Digital Health News

In honour of this year’s Mental Health Week (May 7 - 13), our annual Partnerships in eHealth symposium – which took place on May 9 – put the spotlight on the digital health tools and resources currently available (or coming soon) to support healthcare providers in the delivery of care to patients with mental health concerns.


In his opening remarks, our Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia talked about how the mental health service bundle we offer can help at different points of care. We were also delighted to welcome back Dr. Robert Bell, Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, who gave a keynote address on the crucial role that elements of the service bundle play in assisting healthcare providers to connect patients quickly and seamlessly with the mental health supports they need. Among the tools that were highlighted:


The System Coordinated Access (SCA) program’s electronic referral (eReferral) solution: in the coming months, the Ocean eReferral Network will be onboarding mental health supports – enabling healthcare providers to quickly and seamlessly make referrals for their patients, directly from the electronic medical record (EMR) or from ONE ID single-sign on.


OntarioMD’s Health Report Manager (HRM): HRM has recently gone live at Canada Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHA WW) and Homewood Health Centre, enabling them to send reports directly into a primary care provider’s EMR.


This year’s event also featured two engaging panels. The first panel, empowering patients with information – just a click away, included the following talks:

  • CMHA WW’s eHealth Lead Gerrit Sepers gave an informative talk on Big White Wall, an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programs, creative outlets and a community environment
  • As the CEO and founder of the Life Recovery Program, Paul Radkowski showcased how his online site provides self-directed video based guidance to help families/friends and those struggling with addiction and mental health issues
  • Fred Wagner, Executive Director of CMHA WW, spoke about Bounce Back, which is a provincial skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage symptoms of depression and anxiety using an online platform

The second panel was on using technology to support seamless connections to care, with panelists speaking about a number of different ehealth resources:

  • Daniel Pearson Hirdes, CEO of HealthIM, spoke about how HealthIM strengthens communications between polices services and hospitals, as a resident undergoing a mental health crisis transitions across the spectrum of care – from community-based to acute services
  • The eHealth Centre of Excellence’s Wendy Lang and Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Alexandre Traveres gave a joint presentation on how Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) eConsult is getting primary care providers expert advice from mental health specialists quickly – so they have the information they need to create a care plan for their patients, without patients needing to wait for a referral
  • The eHealth Centre of Excellence’s Meghan Brenner-Burgoyne and Stephanie Chin teamed up with family physician Dr. Neil Naik to talk about how tablets in waiting rooms are supporting patients to complete mental health assessments, with that information going directly into their doctor’s EMR

Both panel sessions were followed by stimulating Q&A sessions moderated by Ted Alexander, the eHealth Centre of Excellence’s Vice President of Partnerships and Clinical Innovation. Attendees were invited to share their response to the presentations, which led to some interesting and wide-ranging discussions about the current and future states of digital health.


Interactive booths were also set up, so during lunch and breaks, attendees could get a firsthand look at the digital health tools on offer and ask questions in a one-on-one setting.  


Overall, it was an exciting day and a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the eMental Health resources available in our community to support healthcare providers and their patients.


Thank you to all of our presenters, booth hosts, organizers, and attendees – we hope to see you again next year!


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Hannele Kivinen
January 11, 2022
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