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Ontario’s CritiCall improves IT capabilities

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 another hospital.

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 fourteen.

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 Ontarians.”

“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 Trauma.

“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.

Quick Facts

• 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.