Brand at a Glance
A condensed version of the Ontario Association of Cardiologists brand and vision
The Ontario Association of Cardiologists is a voluntary professional organization representing Ontario cardiologists. We work with the provincial government, the Ontario Medical Association and other public agencies and professional bodies that make funding and public policy decisions affecting the delivery of vital cardiac care services across the province.
The OAC’s objective is to protect, maintain and improve the current high standard of cardiac care for Ontario patients across the province. We also advocate for the development and maintenance of high professional standards for the practice of cardiology in Ontario.
Why We Exist
The OAC exists independently of the OMA to ensure the voice of cardiology is heard loud and clear regarding issues that affect cardiac patient care in Ontario. While all cardiologists in Ontario are required to be members of the OMA, the OMA does not provide its Section on Cardiology with the resources or infrastructure necessary to allow it to act as an effective advocate for the specialty of Cardiology. The OAC fills this gap. Without its ongoing advocacy program, the high standard of cardiac care in Ontario is at risk.
The OAC advocates on behalf of its members through constructive dialogue with the provincial government and its agencies and the OMA.
Recent Advocacy Successes
EMR Cardiology 1.0-Draft for Use
Improving EMR products used by Ontario cardiologists and their staff was the guiding principle behind two years of collaborative work involving the OAC and OntarioMD. Those efforts resulted in the release of a new provincial Cardiology EMR specification in November 2017.
EMR Cardiology 1.0–Draft for Use comprises a set of functional requirements that are fundamental to the clinical practices of Ontario’s cardiologists. Through its publication, EMR vendors are now better informed of the digital health care needs of cardiologists and better positioned to develop EMR solutions that enhance cardiac patient care and clinical practice efficiency.
Ensuring Fairness within the EQI Program Accreditation Process
In the fall of 2017, the OAC was pleased to announce the creation of a revised Echocardiography Quality Improvement (EQI) program Facility Agreement. Reaching consensus on an agreement that addressed OAC member concerns required months of discussions involving our legal advisors, the legal team of CorHealth Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Echocardiography facility owners are now assured that outstanding legal concerns with the EQI program have been addressed. The OAC is proud of the role it played on behalf of its members to improve fairness in the program. Furthermore, we are pleased by the commitment of CorHealth Ontario to work collaboratively with the OAC on the ongoing development, assessment and improvement of the EQI Program.
The OAC believes this is the best way to ensure ongoing high quality cardiac care for Ontarians is delivered in a cost effective manner in a time of fiscal restraint.
Ensuring Quality and Appropriate Use Through Standards
In 2012, with OMA-Ministry physician services agreement negotiations at a standstill, the OAC played a significant role in convincing the Ontario government to withdraw a unilateral regulation it had passed that would have eliminated the practice of cardiologists performing non-invasive cardiac testing on their own patients (i.e. self-referral) and adopt, instead, an approach using “appropriateness” standards.
The government’s decision was re-shaped in large part by the OAC’s powerful integrated public relations and advocacy campaign, which raised awareness of the patient access pitfalls associated with the government’s proposal and public support for appropriateness standards. The campaign featured strategic media relations, online mobilization, direct meetings with senior government officials, and an unprecedented legislative Petition campaign involving patients, community leaders, and health care professionals from across the province.
Through these efforts, the government recognized the failings of its proposal and saw the value of the OAC supported quality-based model that featured delivering care to the right patient, by the right people, at the right time, using the right equipment, for the right reasons, in an accredited facility. This approach laid the groundwork for what has become the EQI program in Ontario.
Our 24/7 availability saves lives in communities all across Ontario.
OAC members include many of the top cardiologists in the world. Together we believe in an ongoing dialogue that ensures access to the latest proven technologies and techniques are available to all Ontarians and that compensation for cardiologists is reasonable and fair. We meet and interact regularly with Ontario’s political representatives, government officials, OMA physician leaders and senior staff, and groups such as CorHealth Ontario, Health Quality Ontario, and OntarioMD. We offer our expertise and a wealth of experience and knowledge at each opportunity. We believe in mutual trust, respect and an open, honest dialogue involving everyone, including the public. This is the only way to ensure patient access to our high quality cardiac care is never jeopardized.
The acronyms and overlapping responsibilities of the various groups involved can be confusing. Please see our Definitions page.
Our membership is diverse, comprising community cardiologists and university-affiliated cardiologists, including entire Cardiology Divisions of Academic Health Sciences Centers (e.g. University Health Network; Ottawa Heart Institute; St. Michael’s Hospital). With representation from small and large communities, we strongly believe in the guiding principle of CorHealth Ontario, which is that all Ontario patients, regardless of where they live, should have equal access to cardiac care services in Ontario.