In 2019, Ontario’s government introduced the Ontario Health Team delivery model as part of a plan to deliver better, faster, more coordinated and patient-centred care across the province.
This proof of concept presents a future where patients and providers can benefit from an integrated eReferral ecosystem that connects healthcare silos, advances health system integration, transforms care delivery and ensures smoother handoffs between care settings— using existing technologies, tools and vendors. We intend to show the art of what’s possible so that all health regions in Ontario and beyond can see how their existing investments in eReferral tools can be joined with other initiatives—without requiring convergence on a single tool.
“It is crucial that any technologies or services that are deployed in OHTs have the ability to work with the larger digital health ecosystem in Ontario so that OHTs do not run the risk of becoming “digital silos” where systems can’t talk to those of other OHTs and patient information becomes trapped.”
—Ontario Health Teams: Digital Health Playbook
Best of breed solutions support varied workflows and requirements. The last 20 years have brought significant innovation in software, with many options available to the different stakeholder groups involved in the continuum of care that cater to their specific needs. We believe that this is a fundamental strength of the market and should be accommodated, rather than imposing a one-solution-for- all approach.
To demonstrate the power and potential of stitching together the referral ecosystem, we came together as a group of three eReferral vendors—CognisantMD, Strata Health, and Caredove—to build a proof of concept integration. Each of our respective tools have different strengths, and we represent just some of the options available in the market. We built the interface leveraging the eReferral FHIR specification, as well as our systems’ APIs. These modern tools allow for flexibility and scalability in real-time interfacing.
Our proof-of-concept aligns to the Quadruple Aim, by:
To demonstrate the art of what’s possible in Ontario and beyond, we integrated three prominent eReferral tools—Ocean eReferrals, Strata Resource Matching & Referral (RM&R), and Caredove—to show how a primary care to community workflow could work, passing through a system navigation hub. This common scenario demonstrates one of the many ways multiple eReferral tools could be intersected within a transition flow and showcases the potential of interoperability across various tools.
The use case for this proof-of-concept is a primary care referral for a patient needing inpatient mental health placement, where a regional intake responsible for the waitlist also coordinates supportive packages of care in the interim.
This scenario shows:
This proof-of-concept is just a glimpse into what is possible as we collectively tackle the work of connecting all of the healthcare silos that have arose over the last few decades of rapid digital transformation. A more connected and integrated health care system is possible and we are here to help.
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