On July 18, 2019, the Minister of Health and representatives from the Ministry of Health hosted a webinar about the next steps in the development of Ontario Health Teams.
From the 157 self-assessments the Ministry received in May, they have identified four categories:
- Proceeding to Full Application – 31 teams
These teams were identified by the Ministry as being ready to implement the OHT model and include partners across a continuum of care.
- In Development – 43 teams
These teams are close to being ready to submit a complete application. They will receive active and targeted support from the Ministry.
- In Discovery
These groups are encouraged to build and expand their partnerships, potentially by partnering with OHTs in their region.
- Innovative Models
The Ministry will work with a small number of groups who focused on a model that will cover a region or the province.
Full applications are due October 9 and will be reviewed later in October. Announcements of designated OHTs are expected in late fall. The Deputy Minister indicated that she is optimistic that all groups proceeding to full application could be designated OHTs at that time. These groups were selected based on their alignment with the OHT model and an assessment of their readiness to proceed.
The Ministry will be posting the full list of groups proceeding, hopefully by the end of the month. One of the 31 groups proceeding to a full application is an Indigenous-led group in Northern Ontario.
Highlights from the webinar
Throughout the webinar, the Ministry focused heavily on partnerships, especially partnerships with patients, families and caregivers and with primary care. Groups moving forward are expected to have significant engagement with both of these communities.
The Ministry also mentioned that they continue to be interested in removing barriers to integrated care, stating that they have already learned about many of these barriers from the self-assessments.
The Ministry also confirmed that the Digital Health Playbook is still in development and should be released shortly. It will include a catalogue of all provincial digital health assets. The Ministry is also developing a “Digital First for Health” strategy.
The webinar ended with a question for the Minister about the short-term and long-term improvements that patients can expect because of the OHTs. Consistent with the messaging to date, the Minister concluded by reiterating that patients should have better, faster, more connected care regardless of where they are in their health care journey.