Transforming Ontario's Health Care System
Community Health Links provide coordinated, efficient and effective care to patients with complex needs
Five per cent of patients account for two-thirds of health care costs. These are most often patients with multiple, complex conditions. When the hospital, the family doctor, the long-term care home, community organizations and others work as a team, the patient receives better, more coordinated care. Providers will design a care plan for each patient and work together with patients and their families to ensure they receive the care they need. For the patient it means they will :
- Have an individualized, coordinated plan
- Have care providers who ensure the plan is being followed
- Have support to ensure they are taking the right medications
- Have a care provider they can call who knows them, is familiar with their situation and can help.
Currently, there are 82 approved Health Links across 14 Local Health Integration Networks. See a list of the current Health Links.
With over two years of Health Links operations, evaluations and quarterly reporting, the ministry in consultation with LHINs and Health Links, have worked to evolve and standardize key aspects of the Health Links Model across the province. This work has led to the creation of the Advanced Health Links Model, Â that will enable more consistent coordination of services and supports the expansion of Health Links to serve all of Ontario’s complex patient population.
The Advanced Health Links Model was introduced to the LHINs and Health Links through a June 18th webinar, that was jointly hosted by the ministry and LHIN leadership. The webinar introduced the broad strokes of the Advanced Health Links Model and outlined the future vision of the Health Links program. The webinar can be viewed here.
Following the June 18th webinar, through a memo from the Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy and Planning Division, the ministry released the Advanced Health Links Guide that elaborated on the June 18th webinar, by:
- Providing an overview of the future direction and strategic context of Health Links to enable a unified vision across the ministry, LHINs and Health Links;
- Expanding on the core elements that will be standardized;
- Introducing the concept of an enhanced performance management framework; and
- Outlining the Health Quality Ontario (HQO) supports that will help LHINs and Health Links transition to the Advanced Health Links Model.
Through the Best Practices Framework, HQO will create a number of practical tools to assist LHINs and Health Links with improving and expanding their operations to provide services to all of Ontario’s complex patient population. Visit the HQO site to access the Best Practices Framework and tools:
Additionally, LHINs and Health Links can access a range of information and resources at the ministry enabled Health Links portal.
- For an example of how a community Health Link can make a difference in a patient's life, read Bernice's story.
- The concept of a community Health Link is very similar to a project The Change Foundation is leading, supporting a project in Northumberland. Read more about this extraordinary community initiative.
- Read the news release Improving Care for High-Needs Patients
- Find out more about Health Links
- See support quotes for Health Links