South West LHIN Exchange Newsletter - September 2016 

How digital health information supports coordinated delivery of care

Thanks to ClinicalConnect, a physician in an Emergency Room in Owen Sound who is treating a patient with high care needs from London can now see that person's important health information and provide them with the best care no matter where they live or need care.

Combined with the Health Links philosophy, both work together to wrap care around a person with high care needs. This links patients across different health sectors to providers, where health care professionals can share and update important information in real-time to ensure the patient is receiving the best possible care.

Watch how Health Links care providers are tracking their patients’ care plans in real time using Clinical Connect, the Regional Clinical viewer. 

Sub-region map in South West LHINThe future of health care is local – Patients First

As many are already aware, the Legislature was prorogued by the Lieutenant Governor on September 8. The government continues to support Patients First and is committed to reintroducing a bill in the Legislature as soon as possible. Prorogation signals the end of a session of the Legislature – where any unfinished business before Legislature must be reintroduced. It is not expected that the prorogation will impact the timelines for proposed passage of a Patients First bill.

Until legislation is reintroduced, the LHIN continues its work on sub-regions. We know that the best way to support people’s health is to ensure they have the supports they require, close to home, when they need them. That is why we are building on the way we plan for the needs of communities across the LHIN – with sub-region geographies.  

We know that the best way to support people’s health is to ensure they have the supports they require, close to home, when they need them. That is why we are building on the way we plan for the needs of communities across the LHIN – with sub-region geographies.

Sub-region geographies allow LHINs to better plan, integrate, and improve the performance of local health services. They also have the potential to better identify and capture diverse population needs – be they cultural, linguistic, or otherwise – and to help our health care system better respond to these needs. 

Where are the sub-regions in the South West LHIN?

We have identified five sub-regions that follow county boundaries: Elgin, Oxford, London Middlesex, Huron Perth and Grey Bruce. 

How were they identified? 

Sub-region geographies are not a new idea. The sub-regions were identified based on the strong history of collaboration within the LHIN, consultation with local health service providers, and patient referral patterns, including information that was available when developing the Health Links coordinated care planning approach to better serve residents with high care needs.

What is happening now? 

Each sub-region has a strong history of planning together, sharing resources and training opportunities, and working on common issues. While a sub-region approach to health service planning and evaluation has been in place for several years, the South West LHIN is now formalizing the sub-region geographies to allow for more integrated planning at the local level and to support provincial priorities related to the Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. 

What is next?

We will continue to provide updates on sub-region development and Patients First legislation over the coming months. 

New crisis support line encourages residents to Reach Out

People with addictions and mental health needs living in London, Middlesex, Oxford and Elgin counties have a new place to turn to for support.

Reach Out (À l’écoute) is a new bilingual phone line that launched on August 23. Available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, Reach Out offers callers crisis support, friendly listening, information and education, or an appointment with a mental health and addictions professional. Families, caregivers, and health care providers are also encouraged to use the line to learn about resources for loved ones or clients.

You can Reach Out by phone at 519-433-2023 or toll free at 1-866-933-2023.

Their website, also has a confidential web chat feature.

Reach Out staff are able to assist with a variety of concerns, such as:

  • A serious mental health or addictions problem
  • A crisis
  • Risk of self-harm or harm to others
  • Emotional trauma
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Concern about the well-being of a loved one
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse, gaming, internet disorder and problem gambling

 “Launching Reach Out is an important next step in improving timely access to supports for people living with mental health and addictions issues and their families,” says Jeff Low, Board Chair, South West LHIN. “The South West LHIN recognizes that people accessing mental health and addictions services need appropriate support that is fast, coordinated and available 24/7. We are pleased to support this vital program, and we thank the partner agencies for working together to improve access to care in the LHIN.”

In the first ten days since launching, Reach Out heard from more than 300 people through the phone line and web chat feature.

Reach Out is a partnership among Addictions Services of Thames Valley, Canadian Mental Health Association Elgin, Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex and Canadian Medal Health Association Oxford.

For more updates, follow Reach Out on Twitter @reachout247

Talking local health care with all corners of the community

Health system partners and residents from across the Grey Bruce geography came to the Grey Highlands this month to share their honest views on how local health care is working, as well as opportunities they saw for contributing to an integrated system going forward.

“We already have a good working relationship in Grey Bruce, we’ve been at a table talking to each other,” expressed Jane De Jong, Independent health care consultant and Vice Chair of the South East Grey Community Health Centre in Markdale. “But in these kinds of opportunities, you not only hear the perspective of the organization that is going to manage our future, but you hear what your colleagues burning issues are and how they’ve tried that or this and it worked so well.”

The South West LHIN’s community sessions combine engagement, the board governance, and members of the community to allow for networking and dialogue on local health care. At each session the LHIN offers a system-wide update as well as regionally-focused table discussions.

Jane, and more than 20 others from various health service providers in the area, joined South West LHIN Board members and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Barrett, on September 20 in Flesherton to hear about the Patients First work underway and the vision going forward for integrated care at the local level.

“I’m excited about what transformation will actually achieve for Grey Bruce,” says Jane. “Everybody pays lip service to collaborative work but we still have silos in every health care system.”

Sue McCutcheon, Health Links program lead and long-time resident of the Grey Bruce area, illustrated how the Grey Bruce health links, a project that started in 2013, is already fostering an increase in patient-centred care as providers collaborate using coordinated care planning -- a key building block of the Patients First work.

Our next networking event will be held on November 15 in Listowel. The sessions are open to anyone with a role/interest in health care. 

Work continues to improve outcomes for people with stroke and transient ischemic attack


A new series of videos released last month is helping to reinforce the importance of calling 9-1-1 when signs of stroke emerge. Calling 9-1-1 instead of driving to a hospital could be a life-changing decision at a time when seconds matter. 

As the South West LHIN works to realign stroke care from 28 hospitals sites to seven designated stroke centres, calling 9-1-1 when yourself or a loved one shows signs of stroke is the message the stroke project is working to share. 

Work is already underway to implement recommendations to realign inpatient acute and rehabilitative stroke care. The realignment is expected to finish in 2017. Work to begin tracking readiness for the designated stroke centres and the stroke districts to realign stroke volumes has started, including implementation of best practices which must be in place before realignment takes place.

The stroke project also aims to enhance secondary stroke prevention, outpatient and community rehabilitation and stroke support services. As part of this work, physicians and a wide variety of stroke survivors were interviewed. Interviews included those with aphasia (an impairment of language affecting speech and the ability to read or write) or comorbidities, the old and the young, and those from rural and urban areas. The results of these surveys are now being analyzed and will help form recommendations for improvement.  

When fully implemented, acute stroke care will be provided by:

  • London Health Sciences Centre (University Hospital)
  • Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (Stratford General Hospital)
  • Grey Bruce Health Services (Owen Sound Hospital)
  • St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital
  • Alexandra Marine and General Hospital (Telestroke Hospital providing access to tPA only)

Inpatient rehabilitation stroke care will be provided by:

  • St. Joseph’s Health Care, London – Parkwood Institute
  • Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (Stratford General Hospital)
  • Grey Bruce Health Services (Owen Sound Hospital)
  • St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital
  • Woodstock Hospital