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 You 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
A telemedicine appointment is just like a regular appointment, only the specialist you will be seeing and speaking with is on a monitor. Free to residents of Ontario, OTN connects you with the right health care professional, in the right place, at the right time.
The telemedicine program was launched at the Barrie and Community Family Health Team (BCFHT) in 2013. OTN appointments are facilitated for all patients within the Simcoe Muskoka region enabling patients to see their out of town health care provider virtually at our Bayview Drive site, preventing unnecessary travel and out of pocket expenses.
Over the last seven years the program has expanded to include telederm, eConsult and special collaborations with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) allowing more timely and comprehensive care.
Allows a BCFHT family physician or nurse practitioner to send a referral to the telemedicine nurse who in turn performs a dermatology assessment including taking photographs. This information is then relayed to a dermatologist privately and securely via the OTN. This process provides the referring provider with a diagnosis and treatment recommendations within one week, thereby preventing long delays to see a dermatologist in person.
OTN eConsult connects referring physicians and nurse practitioners to specialists, providing the opportunity to inform clinical decision making without sending the patient to see the specialist in person. Through a private and secure webpage, referring providers can ask a specialist a clinical question about their patient and receive advice electronically, quickly and securely.
The benefits of using eConsult include:
- Access: Patients have faster access to specialist advice through their trusted primary care provider. Average response times are within three days.
- Connect: eConsult reduces unnecessary referrals to specialists and focuses treatment for patients on a priority basis.
- Inform: eConsult is a platform for specialists to exchange educational material with referring clinicians, providing “just-in-time” education, which is applied right away. This allows the requesting clinician to remain the main contact for their patients.
- Protect: protects the patient’s personal information by using a safe and secure network.
In 2017 the BCFHT began collaborating with the tele-mental health department at CAMH in Toronto. The aim was to provide timely access for patients to see a psychiatrist for a one-time assessment and obtain a diagnosis and treatment recommendations that would be forwarded back to their referring provider to implement.
The benefits of this collaboration include:
- Access to two 5th year resident psychiatrists that who work solely with the BCFHT one day per week seeing patients under direct supervision of a senior psychiatrist. The resident psychiatrist provides a private face-to-face virtual assessment with patients and/or can provide advice to physicians and nurse practitioners without the patient being present.
- Access to the general staff psychiatrist pool at CAMH.
- Allows for assessment of all general psychiatric conditions and includes more specialized assessments for adult ADHD, adult autism spectrum disorders adult development delay, and geriatric psychiatry.
- Significantly reduces wait times; wait times have been reduced consistently over two years to approximately 2-3 weeks for assessment.
- Increased efficiency for referring physicians and nurse practitioners to send the referrals internally to the telemedicine clinic for triaging and appointment set-up.
- Allows Barrie and Community Family Medical Clinic physicians to refer any patient to the service via electronic medical record technology. This provides patients who do not have a primary care provider with timely access to a psychiatrist.
Please read our Patients and Families brochure for more information.
Patients can access most out-of-town appointment through the Ontario Telemedicine Network. If you are interested in finding out if your appointment is available via telemedicine please contact your health provider directly.