by Dr. Chandi Chandrasena, Chief Medical Officer, OntarioMD
OntarioMD (OMD) is aware that HRM-COVaxON historical reports are creating added work for many physicians. As a family physician with a busy clinic in Ottawa, I acutely understand what these added reports are doing to your workload.
We had consulted extensively with many physicians and our Peer Leader COVaxON-HRM Working Group (WG). The WG identified many issues and concerns with both delivering, and not delivering, the substantial number of historical COVID-19 reports.
The solution chosen is not ideal, but considering the circumstances, which are beyond OMD’s control, the current solution results in the most manageable volumes and least number of issues.
To summarize the current solution, you are currently receiving historical COVID-19 vaccination reports from January 2021 to May 18, 2021, where the PCP (primary care provider) field was filled out in COVaxON at the time of vaccination. You are also getting the reports from January 2021 to the end of July where the PCP was not filled out. OH (Ontario Health) was able to match your patients to you through the Ministry’s CAPE (Client Agency Program Enrolment) database (your roster list). The reports from July 22, 2021, onwards have already been coming to you via HRM and are continuing to come as vaccines are occurring in real time.
The historical reports are coming at night only, thus there will be a higher load in the morning. This was identified as being preferable to having the reports come throughout the day. In order to clear the backlog, the reports will keep coming nightly for a minimum of 30 consecutive days. The extended timeline was chosen to minimize the average number of reports received by each physician. On average, it is 60 extra reports per physician per day. As some clinics have a large number of physicians, these practices have received a larger volume of reports as a whole.
The reports are sent by “age of patient”. Some clinics with more of a geriatric population are currently experiencing remarkably high volumes while others are not. This should change as the age decreases.
To aid with the handling of the reports, we have videos that address solutions for the top three EMRs on our website along with toolbars and other solutions. We understand that these EMR vendor specific solutions are not perfect.
There are different options to deal with the HRM reports. You can post them to the charts directly and take advantage of our “searches” to obtain your unvaccinated lists. Alternatively, you can post to the chart and use the Aggregate Reports on the SARS platform. Should you have the time and resources, you can enter the reports in the correct immunization fields. TELUS PS Suite has developed a toolbar to aid with this.
OMD ensured physicians were made aware of the surge in reports. We have been posting regular updates in the weekly OMA News emails, and in our monthly Digital eTips eNewsletter. We are also posting regular updates on our website, and we sent an email to all HRM users last week. The reports started flowing on Friday, September 24, 2021, and this date was beyond our control. Please let us know if there are better ways to communicate with you.
Physicians advocated for “Access to historical reports via the EMR” rather loudly and the Ministry answered. Many physicians do not have access to COVaxON and did not want to use the SARS reports. HRM was the only way they wanted this information. HRM cannot be turned off based on sending facility (i.e., COVaxON) and so there is no “opt out option” as some physicians have asked.
We understand your frustrations and have been trying to mitigate the burden with helpful tools, our Peer Leaders and staff who are available to help you with tips and advice. However, timelines and urgency were set by circumstances that were beyond our control.
If you would like some help or advice on how to handle the extra reports, OMD is happy to support your clinic. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.