North York Toronto Health Partners (NYTHP) is among the first 24 Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) approved by the Ontario Government. This great news was received after a multi-stage application process and many months of work by a broad range of healthcare organizations, individual health providers and patients as well as caregivers.
The OHTs are grounded in local partnerships and a commitment to local community. OHTs understand the need to support and empower communities. The provincial government is recognizing local expertise and giving control back to patients, caregivers and providers to work together to solve some of the biggest challenges in the system.
As we implement a care model that has been designed locally, rather than centrally, we will benefit from the ideas and solutions that address the specific needs of the people who live in North York.
From the start we have been working with patients, caregivers, primary care leaders, and community partners who came together with a mission to transform health care in our community. From identifying our OHT’s priorities, to building implementation teams and facilitating home care planning sessions, core partners from across the delivery continuum alongside patient caregiver partners have worked together to redesign healthcare. One of the overarching goals is to “Make Care Make Sense” in the North York region. To achieve this, patients and caregivers have been involved in every working group and part of key decisions.
Data helped inform NYTHP's focus on three initial areas of the health care system where needs are high,and patients often find it difficult to receive coordinated care. The three areas are: mental health and addiction, end of life care; and the frail elderly. We have developed new pathways to provide high-quality care for these groups as close to home as possible and around the clock. In fact, there are 12 initiatives ready to be implemented that will result in a connected health care system centred around patients, families and caregivers. In the future we will be looking to expand our efforts to other groups of patients and parts of the community.
This work is not easy, but the comradery and enthusiasm has been palpable, along with a great deal of mutual respect and a history of collaborating.
Primary care is understood to be the foundation of the Ontario Health Teams. We are fortunate to have several hundred family doctors and dozens of primary care practices in the local community. The NYTHP has strong participation from primary care and more family physicians are still joining.
NYTHP is changing the way health care providers work together, which will ideally have a ripple effect whereby all the different parts of the health care system will better collaborate.
Understandably, accomplishing this will take time and OHTs won’t solve all the challenges of our system, but NYTHP believe they can create more integrated care for patients.
Learning about the different expertise in our OHT and strengths we bring to patient care has been eye opening, especially seeing that combining them will ultimately make us all more effective. In closing, we want to share with you an observation made by Dr. David Eisen, Chief of Family and Community Medicine and Program Medical Director at NYGH, which describes what we are striving for, “even though our community is located in an urban setting, an OHT will create the feeling of a small town, where people are connected, and places are familiar.”
To get the latest updates on the North York Toronto Health Partners follow Twitter @NYT_HP and visit the website https://www.northyorktorontohealthpartners.ca/. The website also lists the great group of healthcare organizations and individuals who are involved.
Joshua Tepper, President and CEO
Stacey Daub, Vice President, Strategy, Integration and Digital Health
December 12, 2019