Premier’s Council issues second report
June 26, 2019
TORONTO – The Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine has released its second report, providing advice on how to build a modern, sustainable and integrated healthcare system and solve the problem of hallway medicine in the province of Ontario.
“The Council is encouraged by the government’s vision and progress being made to build a connected and sustainable public healthcare system in Ontario,” said Special Advisor and Chair of the Council, Dr. Rueben Devlin (pictured). “By speaking with Ontarians from across the province, the Council has heard support and enthusiasm for meaningful change in healthcare.”
Developed in consultation with more than 1,500 healthcare providers, patients and caregivers, the Council’s report – A Healthy Ontario: Building a Sustainable Healthcare System – provides advice and makes key recommendations focused on:
Integration – Putting patients at the centre of all interactions within the healthcare system, making it easier to access and navigate the system while providing better digital access to personal health information.
Innovation – Improving options for healthcare delivery with more virtual care options, modernizing the home care sector and providing a more flexible mix of healthcare and community supports.
Efficiency and Alignment – Strengthening partnerships between health and social services and providing open and transparent data to improve health outcomes.
Capacity – Addressing wait times for specialist and community care by maximizing existing assets and skills, making strategic investments in healthcare, designing financial incentives to promote better health outcomes for patients and populations and championing collaborative and interprofessional leadership.
As action items on integration, the council recommends the government should:
- Work with health sector leaders to provide more readily accessible and effective information to patients, families, caregivers and providers about the range of health services available at every age and stage of life. This could include sharing real-time emergency department wait times or introducing mechanisms for sharing meaningful and timely information to assist patients to make informed decisions about accessing services.
- Ensure healthcare service providers have the right skills and the appropriate training and support to communicate information to patients and families with clarity and compassion.
- Conversations about healthcare – especially at the end of life – can be difficult, making it even more important that providers are doing all they can to ensure patients have the information they need to make decisions about their healthcare journey.
- Measure patient experience and patient engagement along each stage of a healthcare journey by collecting and using standardized and digitally enabled Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs). This should be done in partnership with patients and providers to optimize meaningfulness and engagement.
Concerning access to information, the council recommends the government:
- Shift its approach to personal health information oversight and introduce legislation that keeps patient information secure while also creating a data information system where patients own their information and have control over consent. Modernized legislation should find the right balance between improving comprehensive access to personal health information and keeping the information secure. This would require changes to the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). Changes to PHIPA could include: Maintaining the principles of consent and security and give patients access to their health data in formats that are easy to use; Enabling health data to be shared between providers so that patients receive better-integrated care, and so that providers will have a more complete picture of their patients’ health status; and, Making appropriate data available to researchers and others who will use it to further our understanding of how to deliver safe, effective and high-quality care in Ontario.
- Lead the development of one digital identity for each Ontarian to help ensure a patient’s full story is understood by care providers. Develop a policy to govern basic requirements for sharing information throughout the system and create standards for data and for sharing information between electronic clinical systems.
- Modernize and implement programs that help patients better navigate the healthcare system. This would include current system components such as Telehealth Ontario, Healthcare Connect and Healthline, but also new innovative technologies.
- Continue developing systems that enable providers to access patient information and to communicate with and refer patients to other providers, such as eConsult, eReferral and Health Report Manager, and encourage their adoption and use by providers.
The Council will provide advice on the development of Ontario Health Teams and the Ontario Health agency, which are key components of the government’s plan to modernize and integrate healthcare.
Future reports from the Council will focus on the progress being made in delivering better healthcare services and recommendations on long-term planning for the healthcare system.
“Healthcare should be organized around each patient’s individual needs,” said Dr. Devlin. “Healthcare providers must work collaboratively, and services should be more readily available and accessible within our communities. These are the changes that matter to Ontarians and this is what the healthcare system of the future should look like.”
Read the Premier’s Council second report: A Healthy Ontario: Building a Sustainable Healthcare System (https://www.ontario.ca/document/healthy-ontario-building-sustainable-health-care-system)