Technology And Your Health Care
The Barrie & Community Family Health Team has a vision to create a leading edge, quality driven, proactive primary health care community, which focuses on improved access to care, quality of care, patient safety and patient empowerment. This collaborative effort is largely made possible using leading edge enterprise technology, in combination with a Clinical Management System (CMS).
How Does Technology Support Your Healthcare?
Improved access to care is made possible by using computers with a specialized software application called an EMR (Electronic Medical Record). An EMR is a computer program that allows for the transfer of paper charts into an electronic chart on the computer. Your health information can be more effectively managed though use of an EMR.
What Does An EMR Mean For Me As A Patient?
The main benefit to using an EMR is access to information. The Barrie & Community Family Health Team is comprised of many specialized health professionals including Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Diabetes Educators, Dietitians, Pharmacists, Mental Health Counsellors and Respiratory Educators. The EMR is a secure tool that allows these professionals to collaborate and share information regarding your health care.
Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) Initiatives
In 2007, the Ontario Telemedicine Network launched a Phase One Telehomecare Program, designed to support the sustainability and growth of telehomecare services to people across Ontario. The OTN Phase One Program used advanced information communication technologies to provide remote care and monitoring to patients living with either Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This project was funded by Canada Health Infoway and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with the Ontario Telemedicine Network as the Project Manager.
In 2008, the Barrie & Community Family Health Team joined this initial Phase One Program, and was able to provide telehomecare service to over 50 patients within the Barrie & Community Family Health Team. This program was a time-limited intervention and focused on providing patients with education regarding their CHF or COPD so that they could better self-manage their chronic condition. Although this phase of the program concluded in June of 2009, it was largely successful across the province with patients self-reporting decreased emergency room and walk-in clinic utilization, avoided hospitalizations through enhanced self-management, and most importantly increased quality of life.
Royal Victoria Hospital Project – Started May 2009
The Collaborative Pharmacy Care Initiative project will be working with some physicians whose patients are admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie on the cardiac floor. The project expects to find that patients who see a pharmacist at their doctor’s office soon after they have been discharged from the hospital will:
- Improve medication compliance
- Improve patient’s understanding of their medical conditions
- Solve drug related problems that may cause or have potential for harm
- Increase the Physician’s knowledge of their patients’ current health status and medications from the hospital
- Reduce future avoidable visits to the Family Physician’s office
The Pharmacist spends 45-60 minutes per patient, to review new diagnoses, review new and current medications, and answer patient’s questions. The Pharmacist will also focus on medication reconciliation, ensuring the patient is receiving all of the medications that are intended. The patient is provided with an updated list of their medications at the end of the consultation.
Anticoagulation Project – Started November 2008
Our Pharmacists will be working with some Family Physicians to assist in monitoring patients on Warfarin. Patients will continue to get blood work done as usual and a Pharmacist will call you with your results on behalf of the Family Physician. The Pharmacist will advise patients of any drug adjustments required and when you will be required to go for your next blood work. The Pharmacist will document this information in your chart so that the Family Physician will continue to be aware of your health.
The Barrie & Community Family Health team is aligned with provincial initiatives to improve patient care and delivery of services. We have committed 21 of our clinicians and administrative team members to participate in a 15 month provincial Learning Collaborative (March 2009 – May 2010).
Working together on three improvement teams, our members are learning to apply Ontario’s Chronic Care Model and quality improvement methodology to:
- Improve care for individuals with diabetes
- Improve screening for colorectal cancer
- Improve access and office efficiency
As part of their commitment, our members attend three 2-day Learning Sessions and 1 Final Congress in Toronto with 47 other participating Family Health Teams and Community Health Centres. At these sessions, members learn new approaches to diabetes care, colorectal cancer screening, and improving office efficiencies. Our team members use small tests of change (plan-do-study-act cycles) to make improvements. The three teams measure, report monthly on their progress, and use data to identify successes and make further improvements to their practice.
Team members include: 3 family physicians, 3 office nurses, 2 nurse practitioners, 6 administrative assistants, 2 diabetes educators, 2 pharmacists, 1 dietitian, and 2 Barrie & Community Family Health Team senior leaders.