Delivering Digital Health Value: Highlights

We had a remarkable 2020-21 at OMD. These notable highlights from the year reflect our enhanced efforts to deliver digital health value to clinicians.

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What it is:
OMD mobilized its award-winning Health Report Manager (HRM®) to initially deliver real-time reports from COVID-19 assessment centres to clinicians’ EMRs. This was soon followed by the delivery of notifications that patients’ positive COVID-19 test results were available in the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS).

Value:
Sending COVID-19 patient information in real-time to EMRs allows clinicians to be informed and continue to care for their patients during the pandemic. Clinicians know quickly which of their patients test positive, so they can be monitored during self-isolation. Patients and their families are comforted that their primary care clinicians know what’s going on and can monitor them. 

2020-21 Impact:
Over the year, HRM sent over 28 million reports from 560 hospitals and clinics to nearly 13,000 clinicians. Included in the report totals are reports delivered to clinicians from COVID-19 assessment centres, and positive COVID-19 test result notifications in OLIS. OMD connected HRM with OLIS in just three weeks so primary care clinicians would know quickly which of their patients tested positive and take appropriate action.

Looking ahead, OMD will continue to advocate for the digital integration of the health system that results in positive impact on clinicians and their patients. OMD is working with our health system partners to deliver patients’ COVID-19 vaccination reports to primary care clinicians’ EMRs through HRM to inform them of vaccinated patients.

What it is:
OMD continues to have an engaged workplace culture across all levels of the organization.

Value:
OMD employees are happy, engaged and committed to our work, which translates to the delivery of better digital health services to support clinicians and their patients.

2020-21 Impact:
On average, 94% of staff participated in 2 Employment Engagement Surveys. Feedback from 5 Pulse Surveys on remote work and staff wellbeing showed a high commitment to quality work and being inspired by what we do. We also supported new learning and development initiatives and launched a new goal-setting tool. At 9%, we continued to maintain a low staff turnover rate.

What it is:
OMD partnered with the OMA and Ontario Health-OTN to launch the Ontario Virtual Care Clinic on April 1, 2020 . This clinic was established to provide virtual care to patients with non-urgent needs who did not have a primary care provider or who could not access their provider.

Value:
The OVCC has helped thousands of patients receive virtual care from physicians for issues not related to COVID-19 if they could not reach their family physicians. This increases access to primary care and creates capacity for patients who need care, relieving pressure on the health system in Ontario.

2020-21 Impact:
The clinic served 24,800 patients throughout the year and demand is increasing. OMD recruits and schedules physicians to support the clinic. Patients get the care they need and physicians were able to bill for their services at a time when few patients could be seen in person during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

What it is:
OMD was part of the Ontario government pilot to test this new virtual care initiative as part of the province’s pandemic response for high-risk patients in northern Ontario with lung, heart and other chronic conditions. Leveraging the Insights4Care (i4C) Program, the initiative includes custom-built EMR tools from the i4C Advisory Service team and the i4C Dashboard population health management tool to allow primary care providers to identify patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure or diabetes, who might benefit from remote patient monitoring and referral to the provincial Telehomecare program. Telehomecare complements the care provided by the patient’s primary care provider, who is kept informed of the patient’s progress and alerted to any issues. The goal is to support patients and their caregivers to take steps to improve their conditions. The initiative received provincial funding through Ontario’s Fall Preparedness Plan.

Value:
The remote patient monitoring pilot supports continuity of care for vulnerable patients, reduces unnecessary clinic and hospital visits, and reduces risk of exposure to COVID-19 by managing high-risk patients at home. Using digital solutions also provides safe and convenient access to care for patients, and promotes patient involvement in their own care, while building health system capacity.

2020-21 Impact:
The northern Ontario pilot began in February 2021 and runs through to June 2021. During the challenges of the pandemic, the pilot helps reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 by limiting unnecessary clinic and hospital visits. The initiative also empowers patients, using virtual care solutions to engage them in their health care decisions. Patients who are involved in managing their own health in this way often report a feeling of satisfaction. A sustainability plan is being developed by Ontario Health as it considers expansion to other regions.ult. 90% of surveyed clinicians who use eConsult through their EMRs say that it improves workflow.

So far, I’m loving the ease of referring these patients, and I’m thrilled to have another way to keep an eye on them during COVID. One of my 90+ year old patients is even using it!

Primary Care Provider, speaking on the benefits of the Remote Patient Monitoring Pilot

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What it is:
The Communities of Practice (CoPs) bring together clinicians, practice staff, advisers and EMR vendors regularly to collaborate and share their collective wisdom to improve access to EMRs and digital health tools, and enhance their use. On April 1, 2020, the EMR CoPs transitioned from the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO) to OMD.

Value:
The CoPs leverage the valuable knowledge and expertise of EMR users and vendors to optimize the access to and function of EMRs and their integrated virtual care tools. Through knowledge exchange, mutual support, discussion of areas of improvement, and a review of new tools, products and best practices, the CoPs support the development of digital health solutions that continue to adapt to clinicians’ evolving needs for delivering effective patient care.

2020-21 Impact:
OMD currently facilitates 4 EMR CoPs: Accuro® (QHR Technologies), OSCAR (WELL Health), P&P (P&P Data Systems), and PS Suite (TELUS Health), which have the largest user base and are used by 16,939 clinicians.

What they are:
In March, OMD began onboarding and offering in-depth training to clinicians and their practice staff on the newly launched provincial COVaxON vaccination management system to support the administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the province. Training sessions are virtual and demonstrate how to access and use COVaxON, which enables the Ministry of Health, vaccination locations, and health care staff to collect COVID-19 vaccination data.

Value:
OMD is recognized for its first-class technical and change management support for physicians, and we have remained highly responsive to supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts across the province by facilitating virtual clinical workflow and comprehensive end-to-end training on the COVaxON system for primary care practices offering vaccination clinics.

2020-21 Impact:
The vaccination of 14 million Ontarians is a huge undertaking and many primary care clinicians set up clinics to vaccinate their patients. They didn’t have to figure out the COVaxON system on their own. Over 700 clinicians and staff were trained by OMD to use COVaxON within the first three weeks of its launch. COVaxON training sessions continue as primary care and pediatricians administer the vaccine, with 60+ more sessions and 2,000+ attendees scheduled for future training. OMD has received positive feedback on our training and ongoing support for primary care vaccination events.

What it is:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health safety measures, OMD moved its annual flagship conference to a virtual platform. Building on the legacy of our in-person, award winning EMR: Every Step Conference that took place annually prior to the pandemic, OMD hosted its first Digital Health & Virtual Care (DHVC) Day Conference on October 1. This full-day, complimentary online event featured keynote speakers, CME-accredited educational sessions, EMR workshops, presentations and tradeshows on digital and virtual care topics geared towards clinicians and the health care community.

Value:
DHVC Day is an inspiring day for clinicians and virtual and digital care enthusiasts. Attendees learn about effective use of digital health and virtual care tools and gain clinically valuable knowledge to enhance patient care and practice efficiency. Through meaningful learning opportunities like DHVC Day, clinicians receive helpful guidance and OMD demonstrates thought leadership in an increasingly complex and evolving health care system.

2020-21 Impact:
DHVC Day attracted record numbers in its first year as a virtual conference. Attendance rose from about 1,000 attendees at the former EMR: Every Step Conference to just over 3,000 at the virtual event—a 300% increase—and attracted participants from 22 countries. This resulted in the highest participation of any OMD conference to date.

The event featured keynote addresses by Matt Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health, and former federal health minister Dr. Jane Philpott, now special advisor to the Ontario Government on the new Ontario Health Data Platform (OHDP). The day covered important topics such as addressing physician burnout, the human side of digital practice, and best practices for privacy protection and cybersecurity.

Looking ahead, OMD will prepare for next year’s DHVC Day Conference, and continue to prioritize ways to respond to and ease the administrative burden on clinician practices through thoughtfully designed education and support.

What it is:
OMD engages with clinicians and their staff through a variety of dynamic communications and marketing campaigns that focus on the value that we bring to clinicians.

Value:
We develop useful materials and resources on digital health solutions that increase awareness of these services for clinicians, so they can evolve their practices and use technology and tools effectively to provide informed, patient-centred, high-quality care.

2020-21 Impact:
Throughout the year, OMD developed materials, resources and campaigns to increase clinician engagement and brand awareness of our products and services.

  • To make things easier for clinicians who were seeking information about virtual care tools and resources, we launched a convenient one-stop site, OntarioMD.VC, which contains curated information in collaboration with the OMA.
  • In August, we launched a monthly Digital Health eTips newsletter that offers tips and advice on EMRs, digital health and virtual care tools clinicians can use immediately.
  • We promoted our first Digital Health & Virtual Care Day Conference, educational events, and webinars through our OMD Educates: Digital Health and Virtual Care Curriculum, a 10-part accredited learning series for clinicians, with sessions conducted by OMD Peer Leaders and experts. OMDconnected with 5,004 clinicians and staff at 42 virtual educational events; our educational events have seen 12,102 attendees since 2012, and a 70% increase from last year.
  • who were given an overview of OMD products and services, and had experts from OMD Client Services & Engagement answer questions.
  • For Doctor’s Day on May 1, we honoured the unwavering dedication and efforts of Ontario clinicians in a social media campaign. The campaign’s video features personal messages from OMD staff from across the province, expressing gratitude for clinicians and their year-round leadership towards maintaining the health of Ontarians.
  • We introduced a soft launch of our new OMD Luminary Awards to recognize clinicians’ digital health excellence and honour those who have championed digital health and virtual care tools in their practices.
  • Several dynamic campaigns were created to contribute to building awareness of the OMD brand. This included our 15th Anniversary campaign, which spanned and celebrated our achievements over the years. Virtual care also became a new focus for increasing brand awareness.

What it is:
This new program, launched in the fall of 2020, is led by patients who work with our teams to bring the patient voice, perspective and presence to OMD’s digital health strategies and engagements. This Program embodies the notion of patients as true partners across the organization.

Value:
Patient Leaders are health care advocates who leverage their lived experience to inform and advise from a patient’s perspective on health technology that delivers value to Ontario physicians and patients, and enhances inclusive, patient-family centred care.

2020-21 Impact:
3 Patient Leaders were actively involved in OMD’s internal Primary Care Vaccine Rollout Working Group, and contributed insight and perspective on topics that provided crucial insight and value to our work.

Randy Filinski
In Memoriam – Randy Filinski:

OMD honours the memory of Randy Filinski, one of OMD’s inaugural Patient Leaders, who passed away on May 28. Randy is remembered for his positive influence and valuable input as a champion for patient advocacy, and leaves a legacy at OMD of unwavering passion to provide patient-centred care for Ontarians. We pay tribute to Randy in an OMD blog post: The Importance of Patient-Centred Care in the Virtual Care Ecosystem: OMD Patient Peer Leaders