OntarioMD Works with Dixon Hall to Give Back

OntarioMD employees at Dixon Hall

Contributed by Mavis Jones, OntarioMD Manager, Business Insight & Evaluation

Working in the health sector can be a source of pride. Everything we do at OntarioMD helps over 17,000 clinicians across the province effectively use the digital health tools in their practice, which in turn helps patients access responsive care and live healthier lives.

In any job, however, there are days when the connection between the work and its meaning can seem tenuous at best. A great antidote for those days? Volunteering for an organization that helps build a stronger community, like Dixon Hall’s Meals on Wheels program. Dixon Hall has been OntarioMD’s charity of choice for more than year, and as we heard from CEO Mercedes Watson at our December 2019 Town Hall, our contributions to the organization are making a tremendous difference – and not just with Meals on Wheels, but with the wide range of Dixon Hall programs and services that impact housing, children and youth, employment and other key factors that are so important to full and equitable participation in a community.

A team of OntarioMD employees set out from our office in Toronto one sunny Thursday afternoon this month to walk to Dixon Hall. We were warmly welcomed by staff, given some ground rules and then provided with insulated bags filled with hot meals to deliver to seniors across the downtown Regent Park community.

As those who work in the health space know, seniors are over-represented in complex chronic conditions, which for many means mobility issues, dietary challenges, and vision or hearing limitations that may prevent them from getting out to access healthy food (or even just preparing their own meals). Meals delivery services like Dixon Hall’s Meals on Wheels not only provides people with affordable, nutritious meals; for some, the volunteer delivering the food may be the only face they’ll see all day, so it’s an opportunity to connect, check in and make sure all is well.

Our driver went through our route list and gave us key advice and insights like “if they’re not home, leave it in the building’s office,” “this client appreciates the opportunity to chat,” and “don’t take the stairwell because you won’t have a fob to get out.” Like a school orienteering exercise, we paired up to navigate several highrise buildings until we had delivered the 30 or so meals that had been loaded into the van. Anthony delivered a meal to a gentleman who said very kind things in appreciation of the service, to which Anthony responded that we’re lucky to work for an employer who supports efforts to give back to the community.

This amazing experience was over for us almost too quickly, and we dropped off the bags and headed into the sunshine to walk back to work. But more of our colleagues at OntarioMD will have the opportunity to deliver meals for Dixon Hall Meals on Wheels throughout January and February, and we learned there may be more opportunities for us in future. Dixon Hall Donor Stewardship Officer Cassie McIndoo told us that the organization hosts weekly community dinners and breakfasts, where a classically trained chef provides healthy meals. Corporate sponsors like OntarioMD can encourage employees to volunteer with food preparation, service, and to just be there to share a friendly face and a chat with clients as they enjoy their meal.

As my colleague Anthony pointed out, OntarioMD staff are fortunate to work at a place that understands that employees are more than just our jobs and finds ways to help us connect with our community in such an important way. Thanks to Dixon Hall for the chance to volunteer – we look forward to the next opportunity to give back!

Leverage insights from your EMR data to enhance patient care

Contributed by Simon Ling, Program Director, Insights4Care

In 2019, we launched the Insights4Care (i4C) program to help clinicians tap into the valuable data in their EMRs for improved patient health outcomes. By pairing analytical tools and coaching support, the i4C program offers an important step forward for clinicians and the health system in data quality improvement, population health management and optimizing the value of EMRs and integrated digital health services.

Our journey to this point began several years ago. While OntarioMD has helped more than 18,000  Ontario clinicians adopt and use EMRs, we saw an untapped opportunity to bring patient data in the EMR to life using widely adopted health indicators. With funding support from the Ministry of Health, OntarioMD began a proof of concept in 2015 to demonstrate the technical feasibility and clinical value of an EMR dashboard that gives clinicians real time, at-a-glance visual displays of their patient population’s health data. We partnered with organizations such as Health Quality Ontario, the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario and the Canadian Institute for Health Information to identify 30 indicators to include in the proof of concept, and worked with EMR vendors TELUS Health and OSCAR EMR to implement the i4C Dashboard and indicators.

Fast forward to March 2019. After three years of trial use and evaluation by 500 clinicians across Ontario, our proof of concept successfully concluded with some exciting results:  

  1. The i4C Dashboard enabled quality improvement – 87% of indicators showed improvements after only 90 days of clinician use;
  2. While physicians were the primary users of the Dashboard, feedback showed that other clinicians and staff took advantage of the Dashboard’s potential to drive quality improvement and more responsive patient care within the practice; and
  3. Participants who took advantage of the opportunity to combine Dashboard use with OntarioMD-led change management support experienced greater data improvements than those who did not receive support.

The proof of concept confirmed the technical feasibility and clinical value of OntarioMD’s i4C Dashboard in primary care, and clearly demonstrated the impact hands-on support from OntarioMD staff can have on adoption and use of the technology, and quality improvement in the practice.

As we start 2020, we’re excited by the impact the i4C Dashboard and i4C Advisory Service can have on the health care system. We’re focused on expanding the program across Ontario by giving more clinicians access to the Dashboard, advice and support. We’re engaging with more vendors with certified EMRs to incorporate the i4C Dashboard, and increasing the number of health indicators available in the Dashboard.  

2020 promises to be another important year of health system transformation in Ontario, as Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) continue to take shape and digital health and data play a growing role in a model that places the patient at the centre of their care and integrates patient information at the point of care. OntarioMD’s i4C program is uniquely positioned to support this change by helping to make EMRs and digital health tools more user-friendly, improving the quality of patient data, translating health system priorities into actionable i4C Dashboard indicators, and giving OHTs and other practitioners the means to track and report on their performance improvements.

We’d love to talk to you more about how the i4C program will benefit your patients, and how you can bring the i4C Dashboard and i4C Advisory Service into your practice. Connect with us at support@ontariomd.com or 1-866-744-8668.