Duncan, British Columbia – April 4th, 2011: Cowichan Tribes, British Columbia’s single largest First Nation, today signed an agreement with Strata Health for the extension of Strata PathWays™ in support of Mental Health and Addictions services to health service points in Aboriginal agencies. The initial phase will electronically link Cowichan Tribe adults requiring Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) to appropriate Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) Services.

This innovative project further leverages a 2006 mental health & addictions referral innovation arising from a ground-breaking eReferral partnership between VIHA, Canada Health InfoWay, Cerner Corporation and Strata Health. The eReferral project has improved access to services for populations of high needs/high risk clients that are a priority target for mental health and addiction services across Vancouver Island.

“We are incredibly excited to leverage our success to date and cross jurisdictional boundaries in order to improve coordination of service delivery for Aboriginal/First Nations people needing mental health and addiction services,” declared Ken Moselle, VIHA Lead, Access Control Redesign and Enterprise Information Architecture.

“Improved access to provincial mental health services by First Nations populations is an important priority for all the Mental Health Integration Project (MHIP) partners. This project takes the first step in eHealth-enabling stronger referral mechanisms and processes between Cowichan Tribes and VIHA,” states Judith Gohn, Executive Health Director of Ts’ewulhtun Health, Cowichan Tribes. “This helps our members access a broader array of safe and culturally appropriate services, with continuity of information across service providers. It also provides clinicians with important information regarding responsiveness and appropriateness of services being provided.”

“There is a widespread perception that First Nations people receive health services separate from the general population. That’s just not the case. The goal of this project is to improve access and remove barriers to mental health services, while enhancing the capacity of both First Nations communities and VIHA”, states Gavin Eaton, Director of eHealth for the BC First Nations Health Council. “We are very pleased to support this innovative partnership which will create tangible benefits for Cowichan members.”

“Another exciting aspect of this project is the opportunity to integrate Strata PathWays™ with Mustimuhw, one of the most broadly used and successful First Nations Health Clinic Information Systems in Canada. This delivers an enhanced ability to share critical health information between VIHA and the Cowichan Tribes ensuring clients get treated appropriately and with the cultural sensitivity they deserve. We are hopeful other First Nations organizations will be able to leverage this integrated eReferral innovation in the near future.” states Darren Jones, VP of Technology, Strata Health.

About Cowichan Tribes:

The Cowichan Tribes is the single largest First Nation (FN) in British Columbia. Located in the Cowichan Valley in mid-Vancouver Island, the Cowichan Tribes are comprised of 7 traditional villages: Kw’amutsun, Qwum’yiqun’, Kwulqwselu, S’amuna’, L’uml’umuluts, Hinupsum, and Tl’ulpalus. Cowichan Tribes is governed by a Chief and 12 Councillors, and has delegated responsibilities for a variety of services including Children and Families, Education, Health, Housing, Membership and Social Development. The Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre manages public health and communicable disease control for Cowichan Tribes and provides a variety of health promotion programs. Cowichan Tribes originated the Mustimuhw Community Electronic Medical Record (cEMR) system broadly in use in First Nations Health Centres across multiple provinces. Mustimuhw.com

About Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA):

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) provides health care to over 750,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands of the Georgia Strait, and in the mainland communities north of Powell River and south of Rivers Inlet. With more than 17,000 health care professionals, technicians and support staff, VIHA provides services through a network of hospitals, clinics, centres, health units and residential facilities

About Strata Health

Strata Health leverages technology to achieve dramatic patient flow improvement within health systems. Our clients say they’ve entrusted us with the job of creating patient flow solutions that achieve real and dramatic benefits for patients, their families and the world’s devoted front line caregivers. Operational in Canada and the UK, Strata Health is a privately-held Canadian corporation. It is comprised of professionals with empathy for those who need care and intense respect for those who devote themselves to caring for others.

Strata PathWays™ is an online, real-time waitlist optimization system practically improving the patient experience and system access. Connected to care providers in the community, it provides front line clinicians with real-time tools to flow appropriate discharging patients to available bed and program openings. The e-Referral system radically reduces the time that patients occupy acute care beds after they have been assessed for discharge into alternative community programs – now including Mental Health & Addictions, Rehabilitation/Sub-Acute, Home Care, Continuing Care Centers, Assisted Living, Palliative, Physiotherapy, Community Support and Adult Day Programs.

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