Working together with 186 local health system partners, Osler pushed the boundaries on defining what it means to ‘partner’ for better health care.

Partnering for integrated and improved access to care

It comes as no surprise to those behind the development of the Brampton/Etobicoke Ontario Health Team (OHT) that it was among the first in the province to be approved in 2019-20. That’s because many of the 186 local health system partners that make up the OHT have already been working together for years.

"This is a tremendous opportunity as a community of health partners to come together to build a more connected system that enables better access to and coordination of services for our patients," said Kiki Ferrari, Osler’s Executive Vice President, Clinical Operations.

Dr. Brian Klar, Family Physician, West Vaughan Family Health Organization agrees. "Our OHT is thrilled the Government is supporting us to provide more seamless, integrated care for the community we collectively serve." This includes Brampton, Bramalea, North Etobicoke, Malton and West Woodbridge regions.

One of the most highly anticipated outcomes of the OHT’s joint efforts is the creation of a central 'hub' – a 24/7 call centre staffed by health care professionals knowledgeable about all the health, community, home care and social services available in the region. The hub is in response to challenges faced by patients and providers in navigating the system to connect with the services they need.

Behind the scenes work began on development of the hub in 2019-20 and will continue in the coming year with a pilot launch that will be tested with a small cohort of complex patients with diabetes and their associated primary care providers.

"Right now most people don’t know what to ask for because they don’t know what it is they need," said Gordon Newman, Community Member and Patient and Family Advisor for the Brampton/Etobicoke OHT. “The hub is a significant step toward connecting patients with the services they need – financial, employment, education, housing or otherwise – to ensure their health and wellness needs are met.”

An early benefit of the OHT was realized towards the end of 2019-20 with the quick creation of a Rapid Action Team featuring numerous partners and long-term care homes as a way to support vulnerable populations in response to the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is a prime example of how we’re already pushing the boundaries as health system partners on what it means to deliver responsive, integrated care," said Ferrari.