Ontario’s CritiCall improves IT
HAMILTON, Ont. – CritiCall Ontario
- the province’s medical resource for hospital-based physicians who are
caring for critically ill patients - has expanded its call centre,
implemented new state-of-the-art technology and moved to a new facility
designed specifically for this purpose.
These enhancements are expected to lead to better service to physicians
who need specialist support or to transfer a critically ill patient to
The new, purpose-built facility has been designed to CritiCall’s
specifications and is now the benchmark for call-centre design. As a
result, the number of call stations can be expanded from five to up to
CritiCall Ontario is working with Telus to implement the first Canadian
implementation of Telus’s iScheduler application for referral and
waitlist, which integrates with Telus’s CallCentre Anywhere application.
The solution provides CritiCall Call Agents with patient referral
capabilities, allowing information to securely follow patients to
wherever they receive medical attention and also provides CritiCall with
reporting capabilities for improved health system planning.
The new technology will support multi-disciplinary care teams. If there
is a specialist in one facility and another elsewhere, the system will
trigger the most appropriate consultation site and order conferencing
directly from the desktop computer.
For example, a critically ill patient may need an intensivist, a trauma
surgeon and air ambulance all involved in the same consultation. Once a
patient plan is created, a patient ‘e-ticket’ will be sent to the
participants to document the plan.
The new system allows for the collection of better, more timely data and
archiving of information, as well as embedding “triggers” that help
providers and CritiCall Call Agents identify the healthcare facility
most appropriate to meet the patient’s needs.
“With the support of the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, we have
expanded our services. Together with new technology solutions and our
brand new central office we can help more physicians help more patients
access the resources they need,” said Kris Bailey, CritiCall Ontario
Executive Director. “Our new technology, together with a new strategic
focus on customer service, will enable us to better meet the demand for
service and support a dramatic improvement in wait times for consults
and transfers. That translates into better access and better care for
“CritiCall Ontario provides a unique and vital service to physicians by
helping to improve patients’ access to critical care support and
resources. The evolution of CritiCall is a welcome and necessary step in
ensuring a system-wide response to Ontarians’ critical care needs,” said
Dr. Bernard Lawless, Ontario’s Provincial Lead, Critical Care and
“The new call centre technology along with the enhanced services will
allow us to more efficiently use healthcare resources in the province.
These enhancements will ensure that every patient will have access to
the resources they need at a very critical time. From a health system
perspective, having a clear and accurate picture of critical care
capacity across the system enables us to better plan for and address
issues of access in all parts of the system,” said Dr. Avery Nathens,
CritiCall Ontario’s Medical Director.
• CallCentreAnywhere is now live at CritiCall Ontario.
• iScheduler is being configured starting with paediatrics for
referrals, then neurosurgery (province-wide), with the system continuing
to build out discipline-by-discipline.
• The information collected by CritiCall Ontario, together with
information collected through the province wide Critical Care
Information System (CCIS) now in place in all intensive care units in
Ontario, means that providers will have an accurate picture of critical
care capacity everywhere in the province.
• This capability is particularly important when there is a moderate or
major surge situation resulting in a sudden increase in demand for
critical care resources.
• In 2007/08 CritiCall Ontario managed over 14,000 calls from
physicians, representing a 50% increase in call volume from 2003/04.
CritiCall Ontario is a ‘medical 9-1-1’ for hospital-based physicians in
Ontario. It is the only program of its kind in the province and is
funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. CritiCall
assists physicians 24 hours-per-day, seven days a week by helping to
find support in managing their critically ill patient. The CritiCall
service is available to physicians who are caring for critically ill
adults and children, as well as neonates.