In early December 2012, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care announced the creation of 19 early adopter Health Links across the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). Over time, Health Links will expand across the province!
What are Health Links?
Health links bring local health care providers together and ensure that people are at the centre of their care. This will give family doctors the ability to connect patients with specialists, home care services and other community supports, including mental health service.
The Health Links programs assist to close any gaps happening when a patient moves from one providers to another, and allows for faster follow-up and helps reduce the likelihood of readmission to the hospital. This will result in better patient care and strengthen partnerships in the community.
For more information about Health Links, review the Health Links Backgrounder and the Health Links Presentation.
Coordination of Care
Coordinating care is an important step in improving the service available to patients with complex needs. Typically, these patients are seniors, have multiple chronic diseases and mental illness. Often, the Health Link’s patients defer to the hospital emergency departments for care and are repeatedly readmitted when they could be receiving care in the community.
A recent study reports that 75 per cent of seniors with complex needs who are discharged from hospital receive care from six or more physicians and 30 per cent get their drugs from three or more pharmacies – resulting in sub-optimal care that costs the health care system more.
Patients with the greatest health care needs make up five per cent of Ontario’s population, but use services that account for approximated two-thirds of Ontario’s health care dollars.
Better Coordination of care for these patients will result in better care and significant health system savings that can be devoted to all patients, ultimately improving sustainability of public health care.
The South East LHIN’s Health Links
Health Care providers speak about Health Links
Health links are teams of professionals that share information and coordinate care for individual patients with complex conditions. Watch the video below for more information.
Quinte Health Link
Salmon River Health Link
Rural Kingston Health Link
Rural Hastings Health Link
Rideau Tay Health Link
Thousand Island Health Link
Two presentations on Kingston Health Link initiatives were presented at the recent Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario Conference in Toronto on October 17, 2016. The presentations were:
The Rural Hastings Health Link was recently honoured with the 2016 Transformative Change Award by the Association of Ontario Health Centres. Congratulations to the hardworking team at RHHL for receiving the recognition you deserve. The Transformative Change video (below) was featured at the 2016 AOHC conference in June. Thank you to the AOHC for allowing us to share their video.
The South East LHIN is proud to have a Salmon River Health Links story featured in the upcoming Provincial Q3 Health links report published by Health Quality Ontario.
The South East Health Links Regional Update (PDF) contains information on Colette's Story and meeting the Health Links.