Waterloo Wellington LHINBoard Highlights
Kitchener - The Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network’s Board of Directors held their regular meeting on February 25, 2016. Below are highlights from the meeting.
Enabling Technologies Update: Improving Patient Outcomes through Technology
The Waterloo Wellington LHIN Board of Directors received an update on how Enabling Technologies initiatives are increasing access to convenient, patient-centred care and further benefitting residents of Waterloo Wellington. WWLHIN eHealth Physician Lead Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia presented these developments through the story of Lillian.
Lillian is 77 years-old and lives alone. She has chronic heart failure and a painful hip but thankfully her family doctor uses electronic medical records (EMR) to support her care. Less than 10 years ago only 25% of primary care providers in Waterloo Wellington used EMR compared with 87% today. The EMR provides her family doctor with the most up-to-date evidence and care practices for her chronic illness and allows him to track her care. The system also suggests preventative care methods, like vaccinations that will help Lillian stay as healthy as possible. Since EMRs were introduced, Waterloo Wellington has seen an 80% increase in patients with chronic heart failure who have received vaccinations for pneumonia.
Lillian’s doctor refers her to an orthopedic surgeon for her hip pain and she is booked for surgery. By the fall of 2015, all Waterloo Wellington hospitals adopted Hospital Report Manager a system that updates patient’s EMR within hours, which means Lillian’s family doctor is able to follow her progress in hospital in real-time. He is also able to provide regular updates to Lillian’s daughter who lives an hour away through secure video conference on her smartphone, laptop or tablet.
These are just some of the Enabling Technologies initiatives that currently support patient care for patients like Lillian and many other residents in Waterloo Wellington. Work is continuing on spreading the use of existing enabling technology solutions and on enhancing them to include more online referral systems and remote access to care such as telehomecare and videoconferencing.
Improvements to Emergency Mental Health and Addiction Services for Residents of Guelph and Wellington
Homewood Health Centre Board Chair, Jamie Schlegel highlighted how partnerships between Guelph General Hospital, North Wellington Health Care, Homewood and the Canadian Mental Health Association have contributed to health system changes that are helping to address emergency department wait times for residents presenting with an emergency mental health or addictions issue in Guelph Wellington.
In early 2015, increasing wait times in Guelph Wellington for mental health and addictions care led to the commission of a review of emergency mental health care in Guelph and Wellington by the Waterloo Wellington LHIN. While the review was underway, local partners worked together to implement immediate strategies that helped to bring wait times for mental health care at Guelph General Hospital from 66 hours (90th percentile) in 2014 to 12 hours.
Collaborative efforts are continuing across the hospitals and community mental health providers in Guelph and Wellington to build on the improvements made to date, improve patient satisfaction and further reduce wait times.
Governance Integration of Groves Memorial Hospital and North Wellington Health Care
A progress update was provided on the governance integration of the Wellington hospitals and advancing an integrated health system for residents in Wellington. The two hospital corporations determined that their preferred way forward was through the creation of a Joint Executive Committee and a new Alliance Agreement. Recognizing the importance of collaboration and an integrated system in addressing the health status and health outcomes in Wellington County, the Waterloo Wellington LHIN Board of Directors issued an integration decision under section 25(2)(a) of the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006, that Groves Memorial Hospital and North Wellington Health Care are to proceed with the proposed integration as set out in the Alliance Agreement.
Presentation by Traverse Independence
Traverse Board Member, Brandee Faulds, provided a an overview of Traverse Independence, a LHIN funded local organization that provides support services for adults with physical disabilities or brain injuries to live as independently as possible.
Faulds shared the story of Joe, a 37-year old nursing home resident and war veteran who suffers from a brain injury. Joe benefitted from individualized care and support provided by Traverse, and through connections with other health sectors who together, provided the right care at the right time. He now lives independently in the community with minimal support and has started volunteering at Traverse Independence to help other residents.
The Waterloo Wellington LHIN provides annual base funding of $4.8M in 2015/16 to help residents like Joe through services offered at Traverse Independence.