It’s a sector characterized by complexity – and here at Think Research, we recognize the considerable challenges faced by long-term care providers. From multiple EHR systems, to competing priorities, increased reporting requirements, resource limitations and variation in knowledge and clinical practices, the long-term care sector is incredibly demanding to navigate.

Understanding the significant role of long-term care within the care continuum, and the need for change within it, Think Research has been pleased to collaborate with the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) on a vital program to bring evidence-based Clinical Support Tools (CSTs) to long-term care homes across Ontario. With implementation beginning in 2017, this program leverages innovative technology to enact improvements that will greatly benefit residents, families, homes and the system at large. Some of these benefits include:

For residents:

  • An increased confidence in care plan decision-making
  • Resident-centric care delivery

For LTC homes:

  • Clinical best practices backed by evidence at the point of care
  • Standardized documentation practices and reduced administrative load

For the system:

  • Real-time data to support Quality Improvement Plans, report on resident outcomes, and support resourcing for the sector
  • Robust feedback loop to better inform care

We are also proud to work with committed program partners such as the OLTCA, MOHLTC and AdvantAge Ontario(AAO), working to standardize clinical content and tools and bring the latest clinical evidence and best practices to the point-of-care. The Clinical Support Tools leverage long-term care providers’ existing platforms, optimizing functionality and supporting home-level improvements by aggregating previously inaccessible data on resident care.

The Think Research Long-Term Care team is made up of dedicated healthcare professionals, technological and EHR experts, as well as Project Managers. Beginning with site visits, the team worked extensively with front-line staff and sector experts to understand their needs and challenges, and to bring those insights back, in order to inform and improve the design of our Clinical Support Tools. They also held content review meetings with LTC providers, and working with our Clinical Research and Development team, hosted a range of Clinical Workshops to elicit necessary feedback from the sector.

During a site visit in January 2018, Think Research engaged with Lyn De Barros and Pauline Reid, from Responsive Health Management and Vermont Square.

On-site training sessions have been very successful and 18 homes in Ontario have gone live with the tool, with goals of taking it across the province. Clinical content will be continuously updated over time to reflect best practices, through incorporating new evidence and ongoing feedback. As the program progresses, we will continue to carry the learning forward and hold collaborative workshops to foster this provincial network of sharing.

As some members of Think Research’s long-term care team have suggested, one of the most rewarding aspects of this program was the ability to foster relationships across the network. Meeting care providers and learning more about the challenges they face on a daily basis, was an essential part of the process. The excitement of front-line staff as they see firsthand how these tools will improve their day to day workflows (what we’ve dubbed as the “a-ha”moments) have made our collective efforts well worth it. The program represents a meaningful step forward for the long-term sector and health care system at large, and together with our partners, we’re looking forward to realizing our shared goal of ensuring that residents across Ontario receive the highest quality care.

If you’re interested in learning more about Think Research and its solutions for long-term care, be sure to visit us at booth #829 at the upcoming Together We Care conference in Toronto, where we’ll be engaging with the long-term care community about our products and services. We’re also hosting a workshop on enhancing care and capacity through new digital tools. View more workshop information here. Looking forward to engaging with you soon!