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North Western Toronto Ontario Health Team is building a better healthcare system

Unprecedented pressure on Ontario’s healthcare system calls for unprecedented partnership among healthcare providers. The Government of Ontario is building a new model of care founded on coordinated teams of regional care providers called Ontario Health Teams (OHTs). By working together, team members will deliver streamlined care services that are centred on patients and caregivers and meet the demands of a growing and aging population.

As one of the first OHTs to move forward with this new model of care, the North Western Toronto Ontario Health Team (NWT OHT) is poised to carve out a sustainable future for healthcare in Ontario. Comprised of 13 healthcare partners, the NWT OHT covers a range of services in north and west Toronto, including primary and acute care, rehabilitation, complex continuing care, mental health, long-term care and community services.

“This partnership takes collaboration between healthcare providers to a new level in Ontario and will result in better-coordinated care and better patient outcomes,” says Raj Sewda, Runnymede’s Executive Vice President Clinical, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Nursing Executive. “Along with our partners, we’re building efficiencies that will reduce wait times and simplify healthcare system navigation, which enhances the patient experience.”

The OHT model of care helps break down the barriers that previously kept care providers from working directly with each other and paves the way for more seamless care transitions. It will reduce the pressure of hallway healthcare in hospitals by facilitating patients’ access to the most appropriate care settings for their needs.

Improved coordination and efficiency under the new model are central to the OHT’s quadruple aim of enhancing patient outcomes, improving patient experience, improving provider experience, while realizing cost savings that can be reinvested in patient care. The quadruple aim framework is internationally recognized for delivering an effective healthcare system.

“This sets the stage for new opportunities for our partners to learn from one another and accelerates the widespread adoption of new practices and technologies,” Sewda says.

The NWT OHT is further leveraging the strength of partnerships by being the first to enter a new agreement with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO).

By formally committing to implement multiple RNAO Best Practices Guidelines, the NWT OHT will be the first health team in Ontario to be designated as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO). This designation will distinguish the team as having adopted evidence-based best practices that lead to exceptional patient-centred care and patient outcomes.

When it comes to improving patient outcomes and enhancing the patient experience, there is clearly strength in numbers. The combined expertise of the NWT OHT partners will enable them to support more patients through their healthcare journeys and ease hallway healthcare. As it breaks new ground in implementing the government’s new model of care, the NWT OHT is at the forefront of realizing the full potential of collaboration, and will set the example for future OHT partnerships.