New Wait Times Data Now Available for Surgeries and Procedures Across Ontario
Province Investing in New Online Tools to Improve Patient Experience
Ontario has launched a new online tool to help people find wait times information for surgeries and procedures at hospitals across the province, and is providing more digital tools to help improve the patient experience.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and Hillary Hartley, Chief Digital Officer, were at OneEleven innovation hub in Toronto to announce a number of new digital tools for patients, including:
- Enhanced wait times information: developed in collaboration with Health Quality Ontario (HQO), the new, easy-to-use wait times tool now includes the length of time between a referral received from a family physician or nurse practitioner and the patient's first appointment with a specialist or surgeon, in addition to the time between the decision on a procedure and the date the procedure is performed. Data is available down to the hospital-level, and will help patients better understand what to expect and allow them to make more informed choices about their health care needs, including being able to talk with the referring physician about options to reduce their wait times.
- Ontario.ca/health: a user-focused, mobile-friendly and trusted source for information about a wide variety of health services in Ontario, including how to renew health cards, find health services in your community and get dental care for children. The website will be continually refined based on users' experience and feedback. People are invited to complete the first user survey before Sept. 1, 2017.
- Expansion of the innovative, online eReferral system in Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and seven more LHINs. eReferral helps reduce wait times by connecting patients and primary care providers to specialists and other health care services in their community faster.
The province is continuing to develop other electronic tools that are increasing access to care for people, such as an electronic version of the immunization card and digital self-care and virtual home visits.
Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare - protecting health care today and into the future.
- Through the 2017 Budget, Ontario is investing $245 million over the next three years to improve patient access to specialists, including new digital solutions to streamline consultations and eReferrals.
- The province is investing $12.9 million over two years to support the expansion of eReferral systems in eight Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). The LHINs are: Waterloo-Wellington, Champlain, South East, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant, South West, Erie St. Clair, North East, and North West.
- An estimated 184,600 patients currently receive virtual care each year through digital self-care programs such as telehomecare and nearly 650,000 virtual care visits, and these numbers are growing rapidly.
- Ontario.ca/health is a joint project between the Ontario Digital Service and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
“We know that digital technology can make the health care journey that much more patient-centred and that digital health care is one of the greatest tools for patient empowerment. That’s why we are investing in digital tools like eReferral, in wait-time and local service data and in online health information. These digital solutions will increase access to care, shorten wait times, and enable people to make informed choices about their health, helping us deliver truly patient-centred health care in Ontario.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins
“Interacting with government and using government services should be easy, not time-consuming or complicated. The improvements we’ve made to ontario.ca/health and eReferral is yet another way that we’re making important health services better, faster and simpler to use for everyone.”
“We’re working with ministries to make government services faster, simpler, and better. Delivering health care information that’s more convenient, intuitive, and easy to use is a big part of our mission. Ontario.ca/health is a great example of what’s possible when we design information around the needs of Ontarians.”