NEWS RELEASE —
Primary care providers can now refer patients directly to psychologists from their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) platform – enabling increased access to timely specialized mental health services.
The Ontario Psychological Association (OPA), in partnership with the Ontario eServices Program, is pleased to announce that CognisantMD’s Ocean platform, available as part of the Think Research Consortium, is now integrated with Strata Health’s referral and navigation platform. This integration will enable primary care clinicians and participating primary care teams to refer frontline healthcare workers, such as nurses and personal support workers, as well as other patients who may need it, to psychological practitioners.
This integration will save time and improve efficiency by enabling direct communication between referring clinicians and psychological practitioners, reducing the need for phone, fax, and web searches. This improves the patient and provider experience in the following ways:
- Primary care providers can quickly and easily make referrals right from their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) using Ocean;
- A recommendation algorithm ensures referrals to appropriate professionals; based on specialization, location, languages, ethnicity, gender and more.
- A shared source of truth ensures all clinical stakeholders have visibility into the transition of care; and
- An automated process minimizes administrative tasks and frees clinicians to focus on patient care.
This work builds on a prior collaboration between the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO), the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO), the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP), the Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Association, Ontario Medical Association’s (OMA) section of General & Family Practice, the Alliance for Healthier Communities, and 211 which supported the mental health needs of frontline workers during the pandemic.
Primary care clinicians can learn more about this new eReferral destination on the Ocean Healthmap.
“Being able to connect more people with psychologists when and where they need them will lower a barrier to accessing mental health help.” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Having direct communication between referring clinicians and treating psychologists will streamline the process. I want to thank the Ontario eServices team for all of their hard work in creating this new referral system. I’m looking forward to seeing this service expanded to include other treating, regulated providers.”
The last two and half years have been a trying time for everyone, especially our front-line healthcare workers. As we move forward, we also need to think how we are going to support other patients needing access to psychological services. The OPA is taking a lead role to remove barriers to care to ensure our health care system, and the workers that support it, are as resilient as can be. We are in this together and stand united with our partners. Today’s exciting announcement to digitally connect family physicians, nurse practitioners and primary care team clinicians to psychologists will not only improve efficiency, but it will also improve patient-clinician matching which will improve the patient journey through our mental health system. We are thankful to the eHealth Centre of excellence and the Ministry of Health for their support in making this important endeavor a reality. – Richard Morrison, CEO, Ontario Psychological Association
Frontline workers are critical to our healthcare system. We’re excited that eReferral is helping to improve access to care for this population and all patients across Ontario. Supporting this mental health initiative for our healthcare workers will help them get the care they need. – Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, Managing Director, eHealth Centre of Excellence and Co-Executive Lead, Ontario eServices Program
This pandemic has not just shown how fragile our health care system really is, but it has also highlighted that there is no health care system without the health care providers that work within it. The increased burden of mental health challenges that comes through the doors of primary care every day has become challenging for the physicians and nurse practitioners who are trying to navigate timely access to care for their patients. We thank the OPA for increasing access and efficiency to much needed psychology services and by employing the e-referral tool through the eHealth Centre of Excellence, ensuring that there is direct connection to a digital tool that is already familiar to primary care. Mental health is health and embedding it into primary care, where patients get most of their daily health care and is the foundation of the health care system, will help with preventative upstream care that is needed to preserve hospital capacity. – Kavita Mehta, CEO, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario
The pandemic has, and continues, to take its toll on frontline healthcare providers and the effects will be felt for a considerable period. We all need help and NPAO is pleased to support this program so that healthcare providers have the mental health supports that can provide tremendous value and benefit. – Dana Cooper, Executive Director, Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario
Alliance members — 110 community health organizations serving people and diverse communities across Ontario – are made up of health care professionals and support staff who support people disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including people living with the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection, requiring mental health and other rehabilitation supports. The pressure, stress and strain of the pandemic, the opioid crisis and other issues impact families and the frontline health care professionals that support them. Access to psychological professionals is needed now more than ever. Our members are actively involved in leveraging Ocean for eReferral/eFaxing as part of the Axe the Fax Initiative, and we know the importance of providing a secure e-referral tool through the eHealth Centre of Excellence. Our members need resources like this program to provide more mental health supports to frontline workers. Digital tools that enable seamless transitions to care are beneficial to the people providing care and to the people receiving care. We are pleased to continue our relationship with OPA to bring this service to frontline workers. – Sarah Hobbs, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Healthier Communities
OCFP supports technology that will allow family doctors to efficiently and effectively refer frontline care providers to mental health supports they so desperately need while minimizing administrative tasks and giving time back to patients. The integration between these two platforms will ensure that health care workers will be able to access the right care, in the right place, faster and this is positive for our frontline workers, physicians, and the health system. -Kim Moran, CEO, Ontario College of Family Physicians
After observing the mental health impacts of the pandemic, we couldn’t be prouder of our partnership with the Ontario Psychological Association and Ontario eService as we celebrate this first of its kind integration. Technology presents numerous opportunities to overcome access barriers to mental health services. Using Strata Health’s referral and navigation platform clinicians can now send patient referrals to psychological practitioners directly from a Primary Care Physician’s EMR, a process that was previously impossible. This collaboration is a huge step in the right direction as we continue to work towards supporting Ontario’s digital health ecosystem.” – Peter Smith, President & CEO of Strata Health
About the Ontario Psychological Association
The Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) is a not-for-profit organization and the voluntary professional association representing psychology in Ontario. Their members include clinicians, academics, researchers, and students who are dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of Ontarians. The OPA provides leadership to promote the mental health and wellbeing of Ontarians, and to inspire excellence in the profession of psychology through research, education, clinical excellence, and advocacy. For more information about OPA, please visit www.psych.on.ca.
About the Ontario eServices Program
The Ontario eServices Program delivers digital services (eConsult and eReferral are the first initiatives in the scope of the program) that support clinical workflows and facilitate smoother transitions in care and an improved patient experience. The Ontario eServices Program is co-led by the Ontario eConsult Centre of Excellence (eConsult COE) and the eHealth Centre of Excellence (eCE) and is funded by Ontario Health (OH). For more information, visit eServicesProgramOntario.ca.
About Strata Health
With over 20 years of experience in the health technology sector, Strata Health is the leading provider of intelligent, digital tools for resource allocation, patient transitions, and patient flow innovation across the care continuum. Strata Health supports healthcare clients on three continents, helping over 16 million patients worldwide get the care they need faster. Strata’s software solutions improve the healthcare experience for patients, clinicians, and health jurisdictions worldwide. For more information, visit www.stratahealth.com
CognisantMD, a WELL Health Company (TSX:WELL), is Canada’s leading provider of EMR-integrated patient engagement and eReferral solutions, built on the secure, cloud-based Ocean Platform. Ocean integrates with the nation’s leading electronic medical records systems, provincial resources, and other digital health solutions to allow patients, healthcare providers, and systems to securely share and exchange patient health information. By replacing outdated, fax-based technology with EMR-integrated eReferrals, the Ocean eReferral Network is helping to reduce wait times and improve access to care. Ocean’s full suite of integrated patient engagement tools is also helping improve digital access for patients, increase access to primary care, and support virtual care across Canada. To learn more, visit cognisantmd.com.
About Think Research Corporation
Think Research Corporation is an industry leader in delivering knowledge-based digital health software solutions. The Company’s focused mission is to organize the world’s health knowledge so everyone gets the best care. Its evidence-based healthcare technology solutions support the clinical decision-making process, standardize care, and improve patient outcomes. For over a decade, Think’s cloud-based, EMR-agnostic digital tools have empowered clinicians around the world and positively impacted millions of patients across the continuum of care – including primary physician care, acute care hospitals and surgical suites as well as community and seniors’ care. Think is proud to serve as a trusted health system partner to a rapidly growing, global client base that spans five continents across more than 13,000 healthcare facilities, with a clinical audience of over 300,000 doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
For media inquiries please contact:
Mr. Richard Morrison
CEO, Ontario Psychological Association