The Southlake Community Ontario Health (OHT) team has launched a user-friendly website to allow health-care providers and the community to easily access information and resources.
The website enables residents of northern York Region and south Simcoe County to keep up to date on the team's initiatives and programs.
“This new website is a great example of the shared commitment of the Southlake Community OHT partners to create and continuously improve information, access and experiences for the people and communities we serve,” said Christina Bisanz, chief executive officer of CHATS and co-chair of the Southlake Community OHT's joint executive steering committee.
"The user-friendly format will allow community members to readily navigate information about the incredible OHT programs available to them, along with exciting opportunities for engagement and collaboration,” said Bisanz.
The OHT concept was introduced by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2019 to enable a group of health-care providers from a set geographical area to deliver care to the residents in that area. Instead of working independently from one another, the teams, which can include hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers, work together in partnership as a coordinated unit to provide support and care.
There are currently 50 OHTs across the province.
The Southlake Community OHT is made up of health-care providers and organizations, patients and family-member stakeholders. The plan is to eventually grow to include many sectors of the community but to start, Bisanz said, the team decided to concentrate on the "two key populations" of seniors with complex medical care needs and people with mental health and addiction.
"We chose those two population groups to start with because they are at higher need and higher risk. As we develop as a health team and mature, the objective will be that we won't only be focusing on two or three or five specific populations but rather the whole population that we serve within the geographical catchment of the Southlake Community OHT," she said.
While the website is new, the team is not. The team has been in existence for almost two years. During that time it was developing initiatives and working collaboratively in the community.
"It was time to start to communicate and broaden awareness of what the Southlake Community OHT is, who are the participants and how we'll benefit the population that we're serving," said Bisanz.
One of the team's initiatives is the Southlake@home program that is designed to help older patients as they transition home from the hospital.
Other initiatives include helping patients to manage chronic diseases in a more effective way and with an at-home approach, as well as a big focus on how to use digital technology to support both patients and health-care providers more efficiently.
The website has a number of surveys that enable the community to provide feedback. It also has easy-to-use forms so users can submit their questions as well as the option to subscribe to an email list to get updates from the team.
The website "is really a one-stop-shop for information and engagement and an opportunity to learn more for all of the residents that the OHT serves," said Danae Theakston, Southlake communications strategist.