The Ontario Association of Cardiologists (OAC) welcomed the chance to participate in the Ontario government’s Fall 2020 Budget consultations and provide the following recommendations to enhance cardiac patient care and protect the health and well-being of Ontarians in this Budget:
- Maintain OHIP virtual care codes.
- Fix COVID-19 Advance Payment Program.
- Fund rapid point of care COVID testing.
- Invest in congestive heart failure patient care.
The OAC is recognized by the Ontario government and its agencies as an important source of clinical expertise in the public policy development process. Throughout 2017-18, the OAC was called upon to provide clinical experts to assist in the following initiatives led by agencies of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care:
- Remote Cardiac Monitoring Health Technology Assessment
- Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) Health Technology Assessment
- Heart Failure Care in the Community Quality Standard
The OAC welcomes these consultation opportunities with the Ontario government to ensure that provincial public policies reflect sound cardiac clinical practice.
In 2014 OntarioMD’s ‘Hospital Report Manager’, (now known as ‘Health Report Manager’ (HRM)), was introduced to the provincial digital health care landscape. It revolutionized EMR patient reporting between hospitals and physicians in the community. Unfortunately for cardiologists, integrating Ontario’s community-based cardiology clinics as HRM “sending facilities” was overlooked by the MOH, thereby disadvantaging many OAC members.
Over the last year, the OAC has worked with OntarioMD to develop a robust model and timeframe for extending HRM sending capabilities to community cardiology clinics. We look forward to the prospect of unveiling this and engaging community cardiologists in its use, throughout 2018-19.
Revised Facility Agreement
In November 2017 the OAC was pleased to announce the creation of a revised EQI program Facility Agreement.
Reaching consensus on an agreement that addressed our member’s 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 indemnity clause has been removed.
- There is a guaranteed role for a physician in the second review of a facility, if required.
- A new, independent appeal process has been created, which will involve cardiologists approved by OAC.
- There is now greater certainty in resolving issues should the Ministry withdraw funding for the EQI program in the future.
- Protection of personal health information has been strengthened.
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.
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.
“We are very pleased with the end result of this collaboration with the OAC. The EMR Cardiology 1.0 Draft for Use…is a solution that will not only lead to enhanced care for cardiac patients in Ontario, but can serve as a model for other specialties and jurisdictions.” – Sarah Hutchison, CEO OntarioMD
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. The specification can be found on OntarioMD’s website.
OAC members should ask their EMR vendor to review and consider options for building the specification’s features into the product they are using.