LHIN Touch with Kim Baker

Patients First

On June 2 of this year, the Government of Ontario signaled the continued evolution of the health care system with the introduction of Bill 210, the Patients First Act. The proposals in the Act recognize that a positive patient experience relies upon stronger linkages and collaboration between Health Service Providers and primary care to support patients’ changing needs as they move across the system.

The Central LHIN’s Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP) for 2016-2019 reinforces this commitment to improve the patient experience and to put patients first. Our IHSP outlines strategies to achieve better coordination of care for patients by strengthening the connections between primary care, acute care, community-based care and other providers, while including the perspective of Public Health Units.

Listening to – and learning from – the patient voice is one of the best ways we can continue to improve care. ‘Listen to the Patient Voice’ is one of the Central LHIN’s Core Values. We demonstrate this Value by tapping into the powerful insights of patients, caregivers and direct care providers through a number of work groups and engagement opportunities. Each contribution is valued and helpful – for example, what we gain from the insights of Central LHIN residents who participate on our Citizens’ Health Advisory Panel (CHAP). Members represent various communities across the region and provide advice and feedback to inform our system planning. 

Most participants have had significant experience with the health care system, and help us better understand what we are doing well – and areas where we need to do better. At our June meeting, we welcomed 10 new members to CHAP and I’d like to express our appreciation to all of our CHAP members for their ongoing advice and guidance.

We also learn from the findings of engagements that are led directly by our Health Service Providers to learn more from the patients and families they serve.

Learning from health care professionals

The Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) of the Central LHIN is comprised of care providers who represent a wide range of health professionals such as nurses, social workers and doctors. Their insights are also helpful as we focus on service delivery at the system level.

Through the leadership of HPAC Chair Dr. George Arnold, the group has recently examined the essential role of community and outpatient clinics located in hospitals and in community settings. These clinics are often established to respond to identified community needs. They also improve flow and access in hospital settings by assisting patients in recovery and keeping them well and out of the hospital.

Community and outpatient clinics support patients to receive essential care closer to home. Many offer a wide range of prevention and treatment options – education, counselling, diagnosis, physiotherapy and rehabilitation to mention just a few. In this way, the services of community and outpatient clinics contribute to system-wide effectiveness, such as reducing Emergency Department visits and readmissions to hospital.

HPAC has recently developed Guiding Principles intended to support the patient-centred focus of clinics, and to reinforce:    

  • The significant contribution made by community and outpatient clinics to the overall patient experience by strengthening home and community care and delivering services in a patient-centred manner
  • The importance of patient choice in selecting and accessing a clinic location, regardless of where patients live
  • The high-quality and professionalism of the health service providers who deliver care, respect patient choice and navigate patients to the right service so they can access the help that they need
  • The value of applying a system-wide focus when planning for new clinics, programs and services
These insights are important for us to keep in mind as we continue to strengthen the health care system together, and to acknowledge the contributions of many partners and providers. We appreciate the work of all of our stakeholders who give of their time and insights to shape better health care across our communities.

A safe, healthy summer

Central LHIN will continue to engage with key stakeholders as we evolve our health care system together, and we’ll keep you up-to-date on new developments and initiatives in our health care system.

In the meantime, my very best wishes for a safe and healthy summer!