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Digital Initiatives

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Technology tools are supporting physicians in the wake of change

Now that the first anti-viral COVID-19 drug, Paxlovid, has been authorized for use in Ontario, efforts are being made to consolidate information and tools for prescribing the drug.

OntarioMD (OMD) worked with health care partners to develop the Paxlovid Toolkit, which includes EMR tools that make it easier for physicians to identify patients who meet the eligibility criteria for the drug and generate the prescription. The tools include EMR searches to find patients who are eligible for Paxlovid and are also at higher risk, prescription forms for the drug, an email template about Paxlovid for eligible patients, and other informational resources.

This toolkit is just one of the digital health initiatives undertaken by OMD to make it easier for physicians to manage their practice and provide effective patient care during the pandemic. “In these times of uncertainty and constant change, physicians need reliable digital tools and resources readily available to them to help make continuity of care easier and clinical practice more efficient,” said Dr. Chandi Chandrasena, OMD’s Chief Medical Officer.

Since the start of the pandemic, OMD has been delivering virtual COVaxON training to physicians and their practice staff preparing to offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics on how to access and use the province’s vaccination system. As a recent development, the Ministry of Health released a new, enhanced version of the provincial COVaxON management system in June 2022 and OMD is retraining physicians on the new workflow. OMD is also offering end-to-end training to practices that wish to start COVID-19 vaccinations. New training dates for both session types are posted on OMD’s website.

COVID-19 Data Delivered through EMR-Integrated Tools

One of the newest digital health tools being integrated with OMD-certified EMRs to support physicians’ access to COVID-19 vaccination data is the Digital Health Drug Repository (DHDR). DHDR integration with certified EMRs gives physicians convenient, real-time and secure access to information directly from their EMRs about publicly funded drugs and pharmacy services, all monitored drugs (regardless of payor), and COVID-19 vaccination information from the COVaxON system. Through rapid access to complete, accurate and up-to-date patient information, physicians are able to make more informed decisions and deliver optimal patient care. OMD continues to roll out this provincial resource to physicians across OMD-certified EMRs and aims to complete this work by November 2022.

In addition to the DHDR, another useful digital health solution giving physicians access to COVID-19 vaccination data is OMD’s digital report delivery solution, Health Report Manager (HRM®). HRM delivers a variety of different reports to physicians using an OMD-certified EMR from participating hospitals and specialty clinics. Leveraging its versatility, HRM was mobilized to deliver reports from COVID-19 assessment centres and other COVID-19-related information. OMD and Ontario Health collaborated to connect HRM with the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS) in just three weeks to deliver positive test notifications to EMR inboxes, so primary care clinicians would know quickly which of their patients tested positive and could take appropriate action. Since May 2021, HRM has also been delivering COVID-19 vaccination reports from COVaxON to physicians’ EMRs to inform them of vaccinated patients. Further enhancements to HRM are planned as OMD continues to advocate for the digital integration of health tools to facilitate comprehensive and informed patient care.

For questions, or to learn more about digital health and virtual care tools for your practice, connect with OMD’s staff and physician Peer Leaders by contacting [email protected].