If you’re a home care agency in Ontario, we are confident you have heard that the newly established Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) has introduced its first cohort of 24 teams across the province.
OHTs are a model of care in which Queen’s Park aims to design a sustainable and, above all, integrated health-care system that is focused on the patient. In that model, funding and deliver of care is transitioning from a siloed system to a unified one that connects patients and providers – and ideally fosters smooth transitions between hospital and home care providers.
At AlayaCare, we’ve long been anticipating the impact on our industry. We have written (and spoken) about how the rise of OHTs will influence home care as the province transitions away from the LHIN model. Agencies will need to control costs as they adapt to this new model, as well as provide accurate, data-driven reports that show how they’re improving patient outcomes.
OHTs are part of a worldwide movement toward patient-directed care that governments hope will bring broader access to care, more individualized care, prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, and generate healthy competition among providers.
It’s time to get your digital house in order
Digital health is at the core of an integrated health care system, and OHTs will become key to fostering local innovation and provincial digital health advancements. Change can feel daunting, but the future lays in a coordinated public health care system where patients and families are priority number one.
Even small home care agencies with limited bandwidth can get their digital house in order. The OHT model will rely on modern technology, tools and information to best support modern patient-centred care. (Toward that end, the government has issued a digital health playbook to help members of each OHT build their technological capacity.)
Earlier this year, we detailed the pillars of integrated home care. It’s worth revisiting where we feel agencies must focus in order to stay relevant and efficient in the new OHT model:
Use data to drive best practices: By implanting key performance indicators (KPIs), agencies can measure, validate and track best practices. The precision use of data drives remote patient monitoring, coordinated care, efficient client visits, and ultimately better prognoses for patients. And capturing the right metrics will prove you are providing high levels of care.
Create a seamless care journey for clients: In this new model, access to care anytime and the ability to use tools to help manage one’s own care plans is the new reality. Having software that is easily adaptable to software used by other providers, and which can connect clients and family members directly to care workers, helps put patients in the driver’s seat and makes an agency strong players in the new system.
Tighten the back end: Agencies must operate economically and maximize resources while providing those new levels of care. Part of getting your digital house in order is making sure the administrative back-end is sound. Integrated accounting software can streamline finances; electronic billing modules can make claim submissions seamless; automated scheduling and route optimization software can reduce travel times and costs. OHTs will require all agencies to be as nimble as possible.
Empower caregivers: Caregivers are the face of each agency, and their satisfaction and ability to effectively perform their role is vital. Equipping workers with GPS-based mobile care management systems and easy electronic visit verification solutions keeps them ahead of the game. AlayaCare’s own mobile caregiver app is an example of how to empower caregivers: real-time access to schedules, route details, billing, risk assessments, time tracking, client data, and clinical forms.
It’s an exciting time for the future of healthcare in this province and AlayaCare is proud to be part of the evolution towards coordinated, integrated care. We fully believe this shift will lead to better patient outcomes, and we’re committed to continuously evolving our technology to meet the needs of providers across Ontario.
Contact us if you have any questions or are looking for additional support to navigate these uncharted waters – we’re here to help.