Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network Launches First Integration Initiative to Improve Access to Care

    Reduced Wait Times for Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery and
    Increased Patient Choice Targeted

    TORONTO, June 20 /CNW/ - The reduction of wait times for hip and knee
replacement surgery is a key priority of Ontario's Wait Times Strategy. Today
the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) officially
launched a new process to refer patients for hip and knee replacements that is
expected to increase access, encourage patient choice and reduce wait times to
meet the recommended 182 days from referral date recommended by the provincial
Orthopaedic Expert Panel.
    Key to the process are the new Central Intake Centre, located at
Sunnybrook's Holland Orthopaedic and Arthritic Centre, and two new Assessment
Centres, one located at the Holland Centre and the other at the Toronto
Western Hospital site of the University Health Network. A new standardized
physician's Request for Consultation referral form will simplify
administrative workflow across the system.
    "Surgeons doing hip and knee replacement surgery at six hospitals within
the Toronto Central LHIN (Holland Centre, Mount Sinai, St. Joseph's Health
Centre, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto East General Hospital and Toronto
Western Hospital) are participating in this program," says Dr. James Waddell,
Medical Lead on this initiative for the Toronto Central LHIN.
    "I commend all of them for their involvement. This is a partnership of
significant proportions. The new program is a testament to the willingness of
health service providers to work together to make our health care system even
better. In just over a year since the Hip and Knee Improvement Project began
at the LHIN in May 2006 as part of a larger Joint Health and Disease
Management Program, there has been an enormous amount of work done to identify
standards, revise internal information management processes and communicate
with all the parties involved."
    "By putting all referrals through Central Intake, Toronto Central LHIN
will be able to track and measure patients' wait time from referring physician
to surgeon for the first time, helping to clarify the full extent of patients'
wait for care and ensure patients receive timely access to an assessment and
treatment," adds Hugh MacLeod, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health System
Accountability & Performance Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term
Care, where work on wait times began.
    A single local number to fax referral forms has been established:
416-599-HKRP (4577); toll free from outside the Toronto area the number is
1-877-411-HKRP (4577).
    The Central Intake review will enhance system efficiency by ensuring
standardized, accurate, and complete patient information (past medical
history, co-morbidities, diagnostic tests, etc.) is provided to surgeons.
    Central Intake will co-ordinate appointments for patients to be seen at
one of the two Assessment Centres, where specially trained multidisciplinary
teams including Advanced Practice Physiotherapists, will facilitate access to
surgery for those who need it. The team will perform a comprehensive physical
assessment focusing on clinical, functional and radiological findings to:

    -   Identify patients whose condition is severe, who will be referred
        immediately either to the surgeon to whom the patient has been
        referred or, if the patient prefers, to the surgeon with the shortest

    -   Identify patients whose condition requires specialized surgery and
        ensure referral is made to a surgeon who performs that surgical

    The Assessment Centre team will also provide appropriate condition
self-management education for patients to help improve their quality of life
and provide a mechanism to facilitate re-entry into the system should
patients' conditions change within one year.
    The new process has begun with the Holland Centre and Toronto Western
Hospital and will be rolled out to all participating hospitals over the next
six months.

For further information:

For further information: Sandra Fawcett, Communications Specialist,
(416) 969-3281

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Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network

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