Dr. Meera Shah, family physician and primary care digital health lead, Health Access Thorncliffe Park (HATP) and a member of East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP) on behalf of East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN).
Today Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is pleased to announce the launch of a new eReferral system for primary care providers and specialists in East Toronto called OCEAN, in addition to a new Central Intake Model for all hospital referrals. Initially, MGH will accept eReferrals for its Fracture Clinic, Breast Diagnostic Assessment Unit (DAU), Thyroid DAU, and Thoracic DAU, with the hopes of expanding the eReferral platform to more programs and services in the near future.
OCEAN is a new Ontario-wide eReferral system that enables community physicians to more seamlessly submit patient referrals electronically to specialists and organizations in an effort to phase out the reliance on faxing technology.
“We take pride at MGH in being able to provide access to comprehensive surgical care in a timely fashion once patients are evaluated by our specialty teams,” says Dr. Rajiv Singal, chief of surgery at MGH. “This initiative should allow us to work better with our primary care partners to ensure that patients in our community who are potentially in need of surgical care can be assessed and cared for quickly. We want to ensure that our primary care colleagues have the ability to better match the surgical needs of their patients with the appropriate surgeon at MGH.”
Transforming patient and provider experiences with the click of a button
With the new eReferral platform, primary care providers in East Toronto will have access to up-to-date specialist and program directories and information. It is quick and easy to search for surgeon specialists, services and programs by wait times, procedure type and proximity to a patient’s home. OCEAN also helps specialists to broadly communicate the services they provide along with the criteria required for a patient referral.
Referral forms within OCEAN are pre-populated with information from a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR), helping to eliminate the need for patients to repeat medical information at their appointments, and reducing the need for manual updates by primary care providers; this will improve the speed at which a referral can be submitted. The eReferral system also helps to ensure that all mandatory fields within the referral are completed therefore reducing the likelihood of incomplete submissions.
When an eReferral is created, a patient can also consent to receive real time email notifications. Notifications include updates on the patient’s referral status, appointment confirmations, appointment details and reminders (i.e. where to park, screening requirements, pre-appointment instructions etc.).
Family physicians and specialists:
Sign up for OCEAN today by emailing: eReferral@ehealthce.ca
“As a family physician, I chose to sign up for OCEAN because it allows me to have access to reliable directories and up to date wait times, and my patients and I are now able to be kept in the loop regarding the status of our referral,” says Dr. Meera Shah, family physician and primary care digital health lead, Health Access Thorncliffe Park (HATP) and a member of East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP) on behalf of East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN).
OCEAN offers easy and secure communication capabilities within the platform to enable follow up communication to be sent and received quickly between providers and specialists/organizations and reduces the need for follow-up calls and faxes.
“Healthcare is such fast paced environment,” says Dr. Shah. “We cannot afford to rely upon outdated, unreliable technology like faxes. When using OCEAN, I feel confident that my referrals are getting into the right hands quickly and as a result, that my patients are getting the care they need, when they need it.”
MGH’s new central intake model for referrals
MGH’s new Central Intake Model (CIM) is a new central hub for all hospital referrals. With one contact point for referrals, the goal of MGH’s CIM is to help create smoother transitions in care. Once a referral is submitted to MGH (via fax, phone, eReferral etc.), it will now land in one central place and be subsequently placed with the appropriate clinic and/or specialist through a CIM. Referrals and bookings will now also be centrally monitored to help ensure surgical time and resources are optimized appropriately.
The first wave of COVID-19 caused a backlog of surgical cases across the province. MGH’s new eReferral Program OCEAN and Central Intake Model will enable surgical departments to efficiently respond to post-pandemic demand and enhance access to care.
“From an Ontario Health Team (OHT) perspective, MGH’s new eReferral platform OCEAN and Central Intake Model will set us in the right path as a system to improve the delivery of care and the overall patient and physician experiences,” says Dr. Shah.
Family physicians and specialists interested in signing up for OCEAN are to contact the eServices Team at eReferral@ehealthce.ca.