What is ConnectingOntario Northern and Eastern? Region?
ConnectingOntario Northern and Eastern Region (NER) is one of three regional programs funded by eHealth Ontario that will deliver integrated electronic health record (EHR) services to clinicians across the province.
The NER program has enrolled over 25,000 health service providers (clinicians) from hospitals, primary care and community care services in the region to access their patients’ electronic health information through the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer. Using the ClinicalViewer, clinicians have seamless access to information such as diagnostic imaging reports, medication profiles and discharge summaries, allowing them to make proactive and informed decisions for their patients’ care.
Who will have access to the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer? How will clinicians be able to access/view their patients' health information?
Clinicians from sectors across the continuum of care are eligible to enroll with the ConnectingOntario program, although access to the ClinicalViewer will only be given to those who require it for the purpose of providing or assisting in the delivery of care. Further, all clinicians must complete mandatory privacy and security training prior to gaining access.
Access to the ClinicalViewer will vary depending on the clinician’s care setting. All enrolled clinicians will have access via the internet using their ONE® ID login. Clinicians working in hospital settings will also be able to access the ClinicalViewer through their existing hospital information system (HIS) within each patient’s electronic medical record (EMR). Clinicians working in Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) – Home and Community Care will use single sign-on with patient context to access the ClinicalViewer within the Client Health and Related Information System (CHRIS).
What kind of patient health information will be available to clinicians via the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer?
The following priority patient health information is currently available to clinicians using the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer:
- Patient Demographics
- Laboratory Results (Ontario Laboratories Information System - (OLIS))
- LHIN-Home and Community Care Reports (e.g. service visits, care plan)
- Discharge Summaries
- Emergency Department Reports
- Diagnostic Imaging (DI) Reports
- Specialty Diagnostic Laboratory Reports (e.g. Cardiovascular, Neurophysiology, and Respiratory)
- Visits and Encounter Details (e.g. admission, discharge and transfers)
- Infection Control Information
- Consent Directive and Override Rules
- Medications and Drug Profiles (Digital Health Drug Repository (DHDR))
As more health service providers contribute to the provincial clinical data repository (CDR), the richness of the available data with only grow. Diagnostic Imaging (DI) and Immunization Information are targeted for Release 10 of the ConnectingOntario program in July of 2018.
Is clinician access to the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer secure?
Yes. All health care organizations participating in eHealth Ontario's ConnectingOntario programs have an obligation to safeguard and protect each patient’s personal health information (PHI) under Ontario's health privacy law (Personal Health Information Privacy Act (PHIPA), 2004) and other applicable laws. Strict electronic security measures are in place to maximize the security of personal health information. In addition, all clinicians with access to the ClinicalViewer must complete annual privacy and security training to ensure that all users understand their responsibility to protect patient data.
All activities within the ConnectingOntario system are also monitored, tracked, logged and audited to detect any inappropriate or unauthorized access. Moreover, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Harmonized Assurance Policy requires each site to self-attest to continued compliance with the privacy and security policies on an annual basis. Ontario’s health privacy law requires that patients be notified, at the first reasonable opportunity, if their personal health information has been accessed inappropriately. A mandatory privacy breach investigation will take place if this occurs.
Is it possible for a clinician to access the wrong patient information using the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer?
No, clinicians will not be able to access the wrong patient information through the viewer. Users will need to enter sufficient information (name, date of birth, OHIP number, etc.) for a query to return a result for a patient. If multiple patients are returned, users will be prompted to enter further information to refine and confirm their search before any patient data is displayed.
What is the status of ConnectingOntario Northern and Eastern Region?
The implementation of the ConnectingOntario Northern and Eastern Region (NER) program for hospitals and LHIN-Home and Community Care is largely complete with many primary and community-based organizations permitted viewing access as early adopters. Please see this link for a full list of the contributors and adopters of the ConnectingOntario Program.
Will primary care clinicians (e.g. family doctors) be able to share their patients’ health information with other clinicians via the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer?
In the short-term, hospitals and LHIN-Home and Community Care will be contributing their patients’ personal health information (PHI) so that primary and community-based clinicians can view this information from the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer.
In the long-term, the program’s goal is to have all health care organizations (i.e. hospital, primary and community-based) in northern and eastern Ontario contributing their patients’ health information so that all clinicians within a patient’s circle of care can access this data through the ClinicalViewer.
I am a clinician. How can I gain access to the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer?
To request access to the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer, begin the process by following this link and filling out the form at the bottom of the page or by contacting eHealth Ontario at 1-866-250-1554 or Connecting.firstname.lastname@example.org.
What changes will ConnectingOntario Northern and Eastern Region bring to my day-to-day practice as a clinician?
ConnectingOntario Northern and Eastern Region (NER) will break down the barriers that currently exist so that clinicians can access patients’ personal health information (PHI) in a secure and timely manner. This will allow clinicians to spend more time on their patients, improving their quality of care, safety, and continuity of care. Administratively, the ClinicalViewer will also improve workflows and system efficiencies by reducing wait times and administrative burden.
Will the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer replace our hospital information system?
No, the ClinicalViewer will not replace your hospital information system (HIS). The ClinicalViewer will be directly accessible from your HIS within each patients’ electronic medical record. The ClinicalViewer is complementary to existing information and the system used to access it.
What is single sign-on? How will NER use single sign-on for the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer?
Single sign-on is a user authentication process that enables the use of one identity (username and password) to access multiple applications. Where possible, the NER program will enable clinicians from hospitals and the LHIN-Home and Community Care to access the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer directly from their existing information system without the need to re-authenticate their identity. This will enable clinicians to get the right information at the right time, when they need it most.
Where the access integration is not yet feasible, clinicians’ sign-on identity to access the viewer will be through ONE® ID, a provincial identity shared across multiple electronic health record (EHR) services.
Will there be training available to clinicians participating in the ConnectingOntario Northern and Eastern Region (NER) program?
Yes, training support is available to clinicians locally, through onsite training with the regional service delivery partners (LHIN-Home and Community Care) and online. Online training for clinicians include Privacy, Security and ClinicalViewer modules. These resources are publicly available on the eHealth Ontario corporate website; see the Privacy toolkit as well as resources under the heading “Training.”
What are the benefits of having my information in the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer system?
There are many benefits to having your information in the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer. By giving your clinicians access to your health information, you will ensure that they have all the information they need to make educated and informed decisions for your care, no matter where in Ontario you require medical attention. For example, patients with complex care needs will not have to worry about remembering all pertinent medical details as their clinicians will be able to see this information through the ClinicalViewer.
Will I have direct access to my clinical data in the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer in the future?
eHealth Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) are pursuing various avenues to provide patients with access to their provincial Electronic Health Records. eHealth Ontario recognizes the importance of this work and intends to support the MOHLTC in moving this forward, though specific timelines are not available at this time.
I do not want some or all of my personal health information to be available on the ClinicalViewer. How can I prohibit access to my electronic medical records?
Patients may contact eHealth Ontario to apply consent directives by using the consent management form on the eHealth website or by contacting the privacy team at 1-866-250-1554 or email@example.com.
An individual may apply the following consent directives to block his or her personal health information (PHI) in the ConnectingOntario ClinicalViewer:
- Global - blocks the whole patient record in ConnectingOntario across all participating health information custodians (HICs) in the province;
- HIC-Agent - blocks or allows all users from a particular HIC from accessing a patient’s health record;
- HIC-Record - blocks or allows all patient records generated from a particular HIC;
- Agent - blocks or allows a specific user from accessing a patient’s entire health record.
For more information on your privacy and consent directives, please visit this page.
How can patients get more information about ConnectingOntario?
To get more information about ConnectingOntario please contact eHealth Ontario at 1-866-250-1554 or Connecting.firstname.lastname@example.org.