Ontario Taking Another Step to Integrate the Health Care System
Ontario is building healthier and safer communities by taking further steps to end hallway health care and build an integrated, connected health care system. Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued a transfer order under the Connecting Care Act, 2019 to transfer the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to Ontario Health, the province's new health agency. The transfer will take effect on April 1, 2020.
"Our government is breaking down siloes within the health care sector as part of our plan to end hallway health care and build a modern, sustainable and connected health care system for current and future generations," said Elliott. "A new health agency with one strategy and one set of priorities, the province is able to leverage the best practices and combine expertise from all the health agencies and now Ontario Telemedicine Network. This will ultimately better support health care providers with the tools, resources and information to deliver high-quality care to Ontarians."
The transfer of OTN into Ontario Health will further pave the way for digital-first approaches to health care in Ontario and improve the integration and efficiency of virtual care across the health care system. Based on feedback and guidance from Ontario Health, the transfer of the health system funding, planning and coordination functions of the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) will be postponed as the province continues to actively respond to COVID-19. Plans will be made to transfer these functions into Ontario Health at a later date.
"Now more than ever, everyone at Ontario Health is united behind a commitment to supporting front line providers as they continue delivering high-quality health care services to Ontarians, where and when they need them," said Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health. "To this end, we are applying the collective knowledge and critical skills of all the organizations and individuals who have transferred in, which will soon include our great colleagues at OTN, to all areas of health care."
Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, which includes making investments and advancing new initiatives across four pillars:
- Prevention and health promotion: keeping patients as healthy as possible in their communities and out of hospitals.
- Providing the right care in the right place: when patients need care, ensure that they receive it in the most appropriate setting, not always the hospital. This includes expanding access to home and community care.
- Integration and improved patient flow: better integrate care providers to ensure patients spend less time waiting in hospitals when they are ready to be discharged. Ontario Health Teams will play a critical role in connecting care providers and, in doing so, helping to end hallway health care.
- Building capacity: build new hospital and long-term care beds while increasing community-based services across Ontario.