Project improves remote monitoring of patients
March 24, 2021
TORONTO – High-risk patients in northern Ontario with lung, heart and other chronic conditions are benefiting from remote patient monitoring in a new pilot program initiated as part of the province’s pandemic response.
Digital tools developed by OntarioMD’s award-winning i4C (Insights4Care) Program are allowing clinicians to easily identify patients with key health indicators such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure or diabetes who would benefit from remote monitoring and referral to the provincial Telehomecare program.
“The virtual care pilot supports continuity of care for vulnerable patients, reduces unnecessary clinic and hospital visits, and reduces risk to exposure of COVID-19 by managing patients at home,” said Sarah Hutchison (pictured), CEO of OntarioMD. “Using digital solutions, we can also promote patient involvement in their care.”
Telehomecare complements the care provided by the patient’s primary care provider and specialized care providers. With a kit that includes a blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter, and weight scale, patients measure their vital signs at home and answer simple daily questions via a tablet about how they are feeling. Specially trained nurses monitor the results and provide weekly coaching by phone.
The primary care physician is kept informed of the patient’s progress and alerted to any issues. The goal is to support patients and their caregivers to take actions and steps to improve their symptoms.
Martha Musicco, who represents Telehomecare as director, Home & Community Care for the North East Local Health Integration Network, says the virtual care pilot is resulting in more good quality referrals to the program.
“We are seeing more Indigenous and rural patients who need supports within the healthcare system being referred to Telehomecare because the referral process for primary care providers and nurses who monitor patients remotely is now streamlined,” Musicco said. “By leveraging digital healthcare solutions, we’re able to improve access to care while also supporting health system capacity.”
Cori Watson, of the North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), says not only does the pilot provide medical home care for patients who need it, it also addresses population health management and is a prime example of integrated care delivery.
“In this integrated system, the needs of high-risk patients in remote locations are being met, while also reducing administration for primary care providers and their clinics,” Watson said.
OntarioMD, a leader in providing digital health solutions in the transformation of healthcare, is also providing proven change management methods, training, and coaching to 50 primary care providers participating in the pilot through our i4C Advisory Service.
The initiative received provincial funding through Ontario’s Fall Preparedness Plan, which dedicated $9.5 million to remote patient monitoring programs. Virtual care options are key in ensuring continuity of health services while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
For more about the pilot or other OntarioMD digital services, please visit www.OntarioMD.ca.
OntarioMD’s dedication to providing value to Ontario’s patients and the health system through digital health products and services has been recognized with multiple awards for excellence, leadership and innovation. Our staff have connected more than 30,000 Ontario clinicians and their staff to our products and services that integrate patient data to enhance patient care. We support them with our extensive knowledge of clinical practice, and our digital health expertise. We educate clinician practices on the latest developments in digital health and virtual care and how to use these new tools effectively. We partner with governments across Canada and with the private sector to accelerate digital and virtual care for Canadians. OntarioMD is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ontario Medical Association. It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health.