Think Research’s Clinical Support Tools program brings evidence-based, best practice to the point of care via actionable clinical guidelines. These tools will ultimately streamline , workflow across the care team, increase confidence in decision-making for resident care and most importantly, drive even better outcomes for Ontario’s long-term care residents. We sat down with Client Success Manager, Dani McArthur to understand more about this program and how it’s helping long-term care homes across the province of Ontario.
RL: What are some of the goals or ideal outcomes of the program?
DM: Our team has been given a very unique opportunity to reach every Long-Term Care home in the province and thus we have lofty goals for this program. The long-term care sector faces many challenges today such as, lack of beds, lack of staff resourcing, and increasingly complex residents that require more thoughtful and thorough care than even 5 years ago. From a home perspective, the desired outcomes of the Clinical Supports Tools include providing up-to-date best practices backed by evidence at the point-of-care, standardized documentation practices to streamline communication across the care team, increased confidence in care plan decision-making and better outcomes for residents, such as reduced visits to the Emergency Department and reduced frequency of falls.
From a system perspective, we hope to establish a robust feedback loop to better inform the care we are providing to our residents and frail seniors and to better support the staff working in the sector. With previously inaccessible data at our finger tips and knowledge into current practices across the province, we will be able to support Quality Improvement Plans, report on resident outcomes, and determine resourcing requirements for each home and the sector. By keeping residents healthy and in their home we not only decrease the stress on the individual and their families, we also reduce substantial costs associated with ED transfers that currently contribute to a large percentage of health spending in Ontario.
RL: Who is involved?
DM: The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) saw an opportunity to better support clinicians in long-term care homes by providing standardized tools and evidence based clinical content in an actionable manner and is now funding a province wide-program for three years. We are very fortunate to work with innovative Program Partners, including the Ontario Long-Term Care Association and AdvantAge Ontario to ensure that every home in the province has the opportunity to realize the benefits of this program. PointClickCare has been an outstanding technology partner in this program to allow for seamless integrations into each home’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) and to develop local and provincial reports and dashboards. That being said, the homes and care providers truly are the heart of this program and are working hard to bring the Clinical Support Tools into action. With recently added funding from the MOHLTC, we are thrilled to announce that our program will now support all 628 long-term care homes in Ontario!
RL: How does the program work?
DM: Homes and/or organizations are able to opt-into the program at anytime during the 3 year funding period. Once signed onto the program, a dedicated team of project managers and clinical implementation specialists meet with each home to assess current workflows and any other quality improvement initiatives underway. Through a standardized implementation approach, Think Research is able to seamlessly implement a single Clinical Support Tool or an entire library of tools into PointClickCare or the local EHR. Following the implementation, Think Research provides tailored training and education and access to our long-term care clinical education specialists. Each home is also provided a dedicated Think Research Client Success Manager to provide customized reports and dashboards and to assist in sustainability, optimization, and ongoing success.
RL: For facilities prioritizing many different initiatives, what’s different about this program offering?
DM: There are several differentiating factors associated with the Long-Term Care Clinical Support Tools program;
1. Evidence-based best practices are up-to-date, multidisciplinary in nature, and inserted directly into the home’s EHR, 2. Hands-on implementation approach and ongoing support, 3. Real-time data and analytics on home and provincial practices, and 4. A provincial network of sharing on clinical practices and outcomes.
2.There are many fantastic resources and literature related to best practice guidelines for care provision for seniors and long-term care residents. The challenge is not only staying up to date on the latest and best practices, but also having the ability for care providers to action these practices at the resident beside. Think Research’s Clinical Research and Development are clinicians who build tools specifically for clinicians. This entails thorough and in-depth literature scans, hosting clinical workshops and end user forums, and content reviews with leading industry experts. We are the leading Canadian clinical content provider and have successfully lead provincial clinical standardization programs. We are very excited to bring our clinical knowledge translation expertise to Ontario long-term care.
3. An initiative of this scale and scope is unprecedented, especially in long-term care. I think most importantly, we have a great group of program managers and coordinators, many of whom have clinical backgrounds, who help facilitate the program every step of the way. We personalize each Clinical Support Tool to fit into the home’s existing EHR infrastructure, from paper-based to Point Click Care.
4. We are very fortunate to work with our technical partners at PointClickCare. One of the most notable benefits of implementing our Clinical Support Tools directly into the home EHR, is the ability to extract data and build custom reports and dashboards for homes and the province. The data component is completely complementary through this program and we encourage homes to leverage this platform to inform any other quality improvement initiatives that are underway.
5. Many homes are already doing amazing work to improve resident outcomes and to provide even better support to families. We want to not only leverage the momentum at individual homes, but also support homes who struggle to successfully implement and support quality improvement initiatives. By sharing our successes and learning from our struggles, we can better support the health of our residents and their families, provide the sector with resource allocation, while reducing unnecessary spending.
Our aim is to have residents get the best quality of care, we also have a large evidence based clinical library that we provide to the homes for them to access.
RL: How can Long Term Care homes in Ontario participate in this program?
DM: Long-term care homes can opt into the program by contacting their organizational representative from the Ontario Long-Term Care Association or AdvantAge Ontario. You can also get in touch with the Think Research team at www.thinkresearch.com/ca/products/onltc/ or through email at email@example.com to learn more and to participate.
RL: Is this program available in other provinces across Canada?
DM: This program is only available in Ontario at this time but with proven success here, we hope to bring these innovative tools across the country.