Hamilton Health Team chosen as one of first in Ontario to move forward with health team model

Nov 26, 2019

The Ontario government today announced that Hamilton will be one of the first communities in Ontario to move forward with establishing an Ontario Health Team.

The Honourable Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health made the announcement today at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre, before an audience that included patient advisors and other representatives of the Hamilton Health Team.

The Hamilton Health Team is a collaboration of Hamilton health and social service partners and includes representation from more than 20 organizations, reflecting primary care, home care, hospitals, community agencies, long-term care, mental health, Indigenous health, post-secondary education, and the City of Hamilton (Healthy and Safe Communities Department, Public Health and Paramedic Services), among others.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Villa Dundas and St. Joseph’s Home Care are among the group of collaborators making up the Hamilton Health Team.

The Hamilton Health Team is co-chaired by two patient advocates, and was built on Hamilton’s rich history of working together to create a healthier community. The announcement that Hamilton’s application to form an Ontario Health Team was accepted presents an exciting opportunity to further expand on that collaborative movement involving primary care and patients as partners in design, and with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to redesign and rebuild health care, focused on improving access for patients and creating more opportunities for providers to work together. I am incredibly proud of the patients and partners who have come together from across Hamilton to bring us to this point. We look forward to working with the Ministry and other Ontario Health Teams as we move forward,” said John Fleming Co-chair Hamilton Health Team.

“As a patient who has contributed to changes in health care, I’ve seen the impact we can have when we work with healthcare providers to make improvements. Patients see the gaps and know the opportunities to create a more integrated and seamless care system. We are grateful for the leadership and insights patients have provided in our early work and look forward to continuing to build patient and caregiver partnerships in the Hamilton Health Team,” said Bernice King, Co-Chair Hamilton Health Team.

The Minister’s announcement will enable the Hamilton Health Team to move forward with planning its early initiatives. This work focusses on three priority populations in Hamilton, based on data demonstrating a need to better integrate care for an aging population and provide more accessible mental health services:

  • Adults with mental health and addiction concerns
  • Children and youth with mental health and addiction concerns
  • Older adults with multiple chronic conditions

The early work will expand on key initiatives already in progress in Hamilton related to early identification, population areas and coordinated patient transitions between healthcare providers. This includes expansion of 24/7 navigation and care coordination services for patients and families, and increasing access to digital tools such as virtual visits and health records, implemented in phases over time. The work will benefit patients and healthcare providers and also help to address hallway healthcare.

The Hamilton Health Team will work closely with the Ministry of Health to determine how it will proceed with these initiatives and how it will work with other Ontario Health Teams.

There are no immediate changes or impacts for patients or healthcare providers at this time.

More than 200 leaders, community members, patients, and physicians took part in workshops to develop the application. Over 130 primary care physicians are already engaged, representing more than 200,000 patients. This works sets the foundation for increasing engagement and collaboration into the future.

For more information on the Ontario Health Team, please go to https://www.hamilton.ca/city-initiatives/strategies-actions/hamilton-health-team.