In October, Trillium Health Partners (THP) and Saint Elizabeth (SE) Health received the prestigious 2018 Minister’s Medal Honouring Excellence in Health Quality and Safety. The medal is Ontario’s most prestigious quality award, annually recognizing only three initiatives across the province.
The theme for this year’s award, Innovating Integration, honours initiatives that aim to achieve better experiences for patients and providers, as well as improve health outcomes with better value in health care delivery. Award recipients are health care providers who have gone above and beyond to improve care for patients and their families.
The award recognizes THP and SE Health’s innovative joint cardiac program known as Putting Patients at the Heart (PPATH). The program redesigned the care journey for cardiac surgery patients by streamlining and simplifying access to follow-up care for patients. It allows cardiac patients to return home sooner and with an improved support system.
“Trillium Health Partners is honoured to be awarded the 2018 Minister’s Medal with our partner SE Health,” said Michelle DiEmanuele, Trillium Health Partners president and CEO. “We believe in the power of teamwork and that partnerships create better health outcomes and experiences by bridging gaps inside and outside of the hospital, while increasing capacity to meet the growing demands of our community.”
PPATH allows the hospital and home care to act as one team providing seamless service to the patient and to share health information through a dual-access electronic health record. The program has a dedicated 24 hour, seven day per week support line for patients to help them get timely answers to their questions after surgery without needing to visit their doctor or the emergency department.
Patients are also supported by a community nurse, who can visit them at home to assess any symptoms or concerns and recommend next steps. The partnership program has provided patients with high-quality care and an improved overall experience while increasing hospital capacity and lowering healthcare system costs by reducing the length of stay.
Results since the implementation of the program have been impressive. PPATH patients can return home, on average, one day sooner following heart surgery. Patients report 96 per cent satisfaction with the program and 98 per cent would recommend the program to family and friends.
PPATH has also resulted in a reduction in post-surgery emergency department visits by 33 per cent and hospital re-admission rates by 25 per cent. The healthcare system saw savings of $1.7 million over two years and 3.5 times more patients received community care.
“By engaging patients and caregivers and leveraging the core expertise of both community and hospital nurses, physicians, health leaders and professionals, we have achieved meaningful change in a simple, efficient and scalable way,” said Shirlee Sharkey, SE Health president and CEO. “The results of PPATH speak for themselves.”