Northeast leverages CHRIS, eConsult for referrals

North East LHIN CIO Tamara Shewciw.

North East LHIN CIO Tamara Shewciw.

The North East LHIN is also busy streamlining communication between hospitals, the CCAC, long-term care, primary care and a myriad of community support agencies, but is building on existing application resources to get the job done, according to North East LHIN CIO Tamara Shewciw.

“We went with the CCAC’s Client Health and Related Information System (CHRIS) to do what we need done for resource matching and referrals. We have standardized forms now for rehab, complex continuing care, long-term care and we are now moving into the community with standardized forms for community support services like mental health and Meals-on-Wheels.”

The North East CCAC has also taken steps to remedy some communication challenges with the nursing agencies it uses to deliver home care services.

“We moved a number of them over to an earlier automation/integration solution that allowed them to receive referrals and respond to them some time ago, but the ability to send back electronic progress reports and frequency changes is brand new,” said Peter Taylor, the North East CCAC’s director of business solutions.

Progress reports and requests to increase the frequency of home visits used to be faxed to the CCAC and rekeyed into CHRIS. Now, they go directly into CHRIS through an integration interface developed by the Ontario Association of CCACs and can be acted on without delay by case managers.

“We have Bayshore Home Health, the Red Cross, the VON, We Care and ParaMed Home Health Care on the system and we’ll have Closing the Gap Healthcare up and running by year-end,” said Taylor.

The CCAC’s Health Portal Gateway will be used for referrals to community support agencies and will be recorded in CHRIS.

For referrals from primary care to specialists, the North East CCAC has decided to leverage the eConsult platform managed by Ontario MD.

“eConsult is there. It’s up and running, so we’re going to build on that to make referrals. It’s in development now,” said Shewciw.

Prior to embarking on the resource matching and referral project, there were 147 different forms used to refer patients from one level of care to another, Shewciw told the Northern Ontario Medical Journal.

Going forward,” she said at the time, “there will be one form for long-term care, one for CCAC services, one for complex continuing care, one for mental health and one for some 64 community support services. Instead of keeping forms in a binder, filling them out by hand and faxing them, they’ll be available digitally, filled out on computer and distributed electronically.”

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