OntarioMD’s award-winning digital health service, Health Report Manager (HRM), has been enhanced to help physicians make better informed decisions for their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delivering COVID-19 information to Ontario physicians
During this pandemic, it is vitally important that physicians quickly receive lab test results for their patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus. HRM now delivers notifications when a COVID-19 related lab result is available in the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS). These notifications alert physicians to check the results by querying OLIS from their electronic medical records (EMRs), or by accessing the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer or the ClinicalConnect viewer. More than 200,000 notifications have been delivered through HRM so far.
“Expediting physician access to COVID-19 test results is of critical importance during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sarah Hutchison, CEO, OntarioMD, “by enabling physicians to access information like lab results from OLIS to support patient care. I am really pleased that we could expand the collaboration between HRM and OLIS in record time to add further value to patients and their physicians.”
In addition to supporting prompt access to COVID-19 tests, HRM is helping to ensure primary care providers are aware when their patients are assessed for symptoms of the virus. Soon after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, OntarioMD began working with hospitals to ensure that any COVID-19 related encounters are clearly identified and delivered to family physicians’ EMRs through HRM. These alerts enable physicians to monitor patients who may have the virus – even if they have not yet tested positive. Hospitals that are offering dedicated COVID-19 Assessment Centres, such as the Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto and Guelph General Hospital in Guelph, have created notifications to be delivered through HRM to family physicians when patients are assessed.
Proactive patient care and improved patient outcomes during COVID-19
Just before the pandemic reached Ontario, HRM began delivering consultation reports for referrals generated through the Ocean eReferral Network, developed by CognisantMD, to community-based physicians’ EMRs. Physicians no longer have to rely on fax to receive these reports and know what the next steps are in their patients’ treatment. While HRM makes regular enhancements to increase the electronic delivery of patient information into EMRs, the value of this integration has never been so important as during the current pandemic.
“As a family doctor, it's unfortunately common to meet with a patient several weeks after their appointment with a specialist or allied health professional without knowing what was recommended as the next step for treatment. This uncertainty is frequently due to a consultation letter from the specialist that hasn’t been faxed yet or was sent to the wrong number. There was no easy way to find out until now,” said Dr. Casey Corkum, Clinical Director and Physician at CarePoint Health.
HRM’s value to the Ontario’s health care system
To date, HRM has delivered over 70 million reports with a consistent monthly volume of over 2 million reports. HRM has realized an average of $40 million a year in cost avoidance for the Ontario health care system by eliminating the printing, mailing, and faxing of paper reports for clinicians and sending sites. This cost avoidance increases every month as more clinicians and sending sites use HRM. And more clinicians will be using HRM as they join Ontario Health Teams (OHTs). OHTs are implementing digital health tools across the province, aligned with requirements and policy direction outlined in Ontario’s Digital Health Playbook. HRM is one of the enabling digital health tools identified in the Playbook.
HRM helps integrate the health system by eliminating barriers to information flow between hospitals and other health care provider sites, and clinicians. HRM has become one of Ontario’s most successful digital health assets thanks to its ability to deliver patient information from more than 500 hospital and specialty clinic sites to the EMR systems of more than 11,000 clinicians across the province.