Focusing on Seamless, Timely Care and Access for Patients

Toronto (March 9, 2005) - As part of ongoing efforts to improve and strengthen the coordination of health-care services, Bridgepoint Health and the North York Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) are the latest healthcare providers to join the IT partnership established between St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital, the Toronto Community Care Access Centre and University Health Network.

"We see this partnership as a unique opportunity to work with other providers to improve access to care by providing a more seamless sharing of health information across the continuum. The expansion of the partnership allows for further system integration, including the sharing of research and knowledge, all of which ultimately benefit the patient," says Marian T. Walsh, President and CEO of Bridgepoint Health. "Joining with other providers to improve care and service is in keeping with Bridgepoint's own strategic plan for information services, which is focused on integration and partnership."

The partnership between the five organizations supports the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's initiative to provide a continuum of care by establishing integrated services and healthcare teams. In turn, this will help improve wait times, enhance patient safety and make better utilization of regional infrastructure.

"This initiative supports our government's goal of creating a seamless and integrated health care system," said Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman.

To start, the five organizations are establishing a shared technology service that supports the health-care information needs of the respective organizations. This means that more than 13,000 health-care workers will be able to access patient records confidentially online, providing care in a more seamless, timely fashion.

"A shared system offers health-care workers a more complete picture of patients' needs as they move across the health-care continuum. Ultimately, they will be able to more readily discharge patients that no longer require hospital care, freeing up beds and reducing wait times," explains Linda Stark, Interim Executive Director for the North York CCAC. "In the end, it's the patient that wins through quality of care, service and outcomes."

The integration of a health record that spans community, rehabilitation, specialized complex continuing, primary and acute care, as well as the seamless referral processes between the participating health-care organizations are just some of the benefits Bridgepoint Health and the North York CCAC realize from this initiative. "An integrated, electronic health record provides authorized access to complete health information in real-time, which is a true benefit to both patients and their health care providers," adds Steve Banyai, Chief Information Officer, Bridgepoint Health.

Bridgepoint Health is an integrated health services organization focused on providing a continuum of care for patients in the Greater Toronto Area who require complex care and complex rehabilitation. Bridgepoint Health comprises Bridgepoint Hospital, Bridgepoint Health Research Institute, Bridgepoint Centre for Living (a soon-to-be-constructed complex care and long-term care centre), Bridgepoint Community Rehab (a not-for-profit community-based rehabilitation service), and Bridgepoint Health Foundation, which supports the programming and development goals of Bridgepoint Health.

The North York Community Care Access Centre provides in-home health care, access to longterm placement, information and referral services to residents of North York. We help people of all ages and cultures receive assistance and care in their own homes by working with family members, caregivers and other health care organizations. Whether you're already using CCAC services, or you're facing a need for support services for the first time, call us. We're here to work with you.

St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital is an Ontario leader in providing specialized inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services for adults recovering from multiple traumatic injuries, organ transplants, amputations, cardiovascular surgery, strokes, complex neurological and orthopaedic conditions. The Hospital is also the site of Canada's only burn rehabilitation program.

The Toronto Community Care Access Centre provides health and social support services to residents living within the geographical area of the old City of Toronto. The community we serve is complex and challenging in its ethnic/cultural diversity and great variations in economic circumstances, ranging from great wealth to circumstances of poverty. We are located in a dynamic urban centre with the largest number of hospitals in the country and we are the largest referral site for patients from Toronto hospitals, 2/3 of whom do not live in our area.

About University Health Network

University Health Network is a major landmark in Canada's healthcare system and a teaching partner of the University of Toronto. Building on the strengths and reputation of each of our three remarkable hospitals, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, UHN brings together the innovation, talent and resources needed to achieve global impact on the health care scene and provide exemplary patient care.

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