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Strategic Plan 2014-17 Healthy People, Healthy Communities
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Overview

Access: Improving access across our organization

Access is a Strategic Issue that involves a broad view: it is not just about wait times but also having the right intervention for the right client at the right time and in the right place.  As such, it involves improving the client experience throughout the continuum, since access to long-term care beds, to community services and to acute care interventions all impact one another.  In keeping with the Population Health approach, a good example of appropriate access is having individuals with diabetes well-managed at home through access to health professionals like diabetes educators and dietitians rather than being treated in hospital for complications related to their disease, such as foot ulcers or loss of kidney function.

Also similar to the Population Health approach, improving access requires a shift in thinking and decision-making, or shifting from a “silo” approach within individual programs to a focus on collaboration and client-centred care across the organization and with partner agencies.  Clients should transition smoothly from one “episode” of care to another and improving access in one part of the system should not be to the detriment of another. 

By strengthening its initiatives to improve access to community-based services such as Mental Health and Addictions, Community Supportive Services and Allied Health, Eastern Health will demonstrate how improvements can be made for clients throughout the continuum of care.  In particular, developing a strategy based on the “Home First” philosophy involves identifying and providing supports and services for clients to maintain living in their homes, rather than in an institutional setting.  Again, this requires a shift in thinking and in resource allocation to develop more options for clients than acute care or long-term care facilities.

Furthermore, focusing on key indicators will demonstrate progress toward improving access as well as the overall client experience.  In particular, monitoring the rate of admissions for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions helps determine whether clients are able to access a community service, and whether  they are well-managed by that community service, rather than being admitted to hospital for complications related to their chronic conditions.  Likewise, tracking Alternate Level of Care days (ALC) indicates whether patients are in the appropriate place: for example, rather than staying in hospital, many clients could return home if appropriate supports were in place.  As well, monitoring the Length of Stay is important, as Eastern Health should be aligned with other health organizations across the country.

This priority area supports and contributes to the Provincial Government’s Strategic Direction 2: Access to Priority Services (PDF).

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Updated Jan 12, 2015