Northern Health Tailors Heart Failure Services to Work Within its Vast Region

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Management of Heart Failure (HF) is one of the domains identified in Northern Health’s Cardiac & Cerebrovascular Service (CCVS) Framework. Given the geography and demographics of northern Health (NH), a network that connects and supports practitioners in managing HF patients in their home communities is a priority.¬† As part of the BC Heart Failure Network, Northern Health has taken the exciting opportunity to operationalize our HF network plan. This network, complete with telehealth capabilities, will engage and link a variety of practitioners and optimize care of HF patients across Northern Health region by enhancing access to HF care services, expert consultation, and education.

Milestones for 2011 began with the creation of a Cardiac & Cerebrovascular Working Group with region-wide representation, and the hiring of a Regional Coordinator and a Project Lead for CCVS. As well, the location of our Prince George support centre was confirmed. The Centre will use a shared care concept, working alongside primary care providers to manage complex patients. Working with our IT department, we have built on our Telehealth capacity with the purchase of electronic stethoscopes. In october 2011, in collaboration with the Provincial HF Hub (St. Paul’s), we held the first Heart Failure CME within the province of BC (subsequently used as a template for other health authorities’ HF CMEs).

In keeping with the provincial strategy and NH’s CCVS Framework, another initiative in development and close to implementation is a collaboration with the Medical office Information System (MOIS) and AMCARE to upload HF data to the Chronic Disease Management Toolkit. MOIS is a locally-developed EMR, and AMCARE stands for Aggregated Metrics for Clinical Analysis Research and Evaluation (a partnership between the University of northern British Columbia and Northern Health).

Northern Health has also been workingcollaboratively with provincial committees to create a regional patient-centered care plan that provides access to standardized HF patient care, promotes coordination of care among HF providers and develops regional expertise in the principles of HF management. Additional initiatives planned: Mapping the patient journey; establishing a one-stop 1-800 service and website; and working with SharedCare to develop a program for NH Rapid Access to Consultants’ Expertise.

This work will support a system of high-quality, specialized HF patient care which will be part of integrated healthcare services for all northerners. The next exciting steps include the centre and network going operational in 2012.

 

 

 

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