Successful program connects doctors with specialized care in Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills


Published March 21, 2024 at 12:21 pm

A program that helps doctors get specialized care for their patients in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills is being expanded.

The Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience (SCOPE) program allows primary care providers to provide better care by quickly connecting their patients to the specialized care they need, including rapid access to diagnostic imaging, palliative care, pediatrics, cardiology and long-term care, thereby substantially reducing emergency department visits. The program has also alleviated the administrative burden on family physicians.

Since its launch in November 2021, SCOPE Halton Healthcare has registered more than 220 family physicians and nurse practitioners and fields about 140 calls a month.

“SCOPE is one of the few healthcare programs that has met with overwhelmingly positive reviews from family physicians,” said Dr. Nadia Alam, Primary Care Lead, SCOPE.

“The program is designed for family doctors by family doctors. It lets us treat a patient with heart failure, find a diagnosis for a patient with puzzling symptoms, get an emergency CT scan for a head injury, get a sick kid seen quickly by a pediatrician. There’s so much that can and has been done through the SCOPE Halton Healthcare program.

“With support from the hospital and home care, family doctors like me get to use our full expertise to care for patients in the community, keeping them healthy and out of hospital, which is exactly what our patients want.”

By quickly connecting primary care providers with Halton Healthcare specialists and community partners, about 80 percent of calls – more than 2,600 to date – have resulted in patients being able to avoid going to an emergency department for care.

Due to the success of the program, SCOPE Halton Healthcare has continued to expand to other specialties and was the first in the province to include pediatrics.

In only six months, the program has also added cardiology, orthopaedics and a remote care management service, which allows a nurse located in the hospital to use technology to virtually monitor patients with complex chronic conditions in the comfort of their homes.

Early detection of serious changes in patient health means earlier management and avoidable admission to hospital. A fracture clinic service will be added this spring.

“We’ve shown over the past three years this program has benefits for the entire health system, particularly patients and primary care practitioners,” said Fiona Ryan, Nurse Navigator Lead, SCOPE Halton Healthcare.

“Preventing unnecessary emergency department visits allows patients to get care more quickly, reduces wait times in our emergency departments and alleviates capacity pressure on our hospitals.”

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