Innovation at Niagara Health

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Niagara Health is on the leading edge of developing and using innovative systems.

Part of our 10-Year Strategic Plan, we are constantly innovating to help provide our patients and families with the best care possible.

New partnerships, coupled with advancements in technology, allow our healthcare providers to better diagnose, treat and care for their patients. We are also a leader in the shift to community-based care – focusing on supporting patients with chronic diseases by helping them safely manage their conditions from the comfort of their home.

Here are some examples of innovation at Niagara Health:

Niagara Health Navigator

NH Navigator is revolutionizing the way patients connect to healthcare information and their care providers. Future releases will provide users with easy access to their health information and connect patients and families with their team of providers while maintaining the highest security and privacy standards.

Since its launch in the fall of 2019, more than 3,200 people have downloaded the app and many have provided feedback for future releases. Recent additions to the app include information on NH`s COVID-19 response, Mental Health and Addictions resources – both at NH and in the community – healthcare options in Niagara and the Niagara Health Foundation.

The app also features current wait times in NH Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres, an NH news feed and NH sites and services information.

You can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Virtual Care

Not all care has to be provided in person. Niagara Health is expanding our ability to provide services from a distance. With the COVID pandemic, it has become a necessity. Virtual care will be a bigger part of our services moving forward.

Niagara has an excellent system in place to provide virtual appointments. This includes using the Ontario Telemedicine Network to connect people through video with their healthcare providers, therapeutic groups and other programs—providing more prompt care and reducing the need for patients to travel.

We continue to look at new ways to provide virtual care for our patients. As an example, between May 25 and June 12, 2020, we conducted more than 1,000 virtual phone visits with chemotherapy patients prior to on-site treatments.

Our care providers who do this are skilled and provide excellent care to our patients.

Partnering from hospital to home

Niagara Health and its partners are working together in new ways to better connect patients and families to services in the hospital and their homes through two unique programs.

We have received positive feedback from patients in our NiagaraHealth@Home program. This partnership, between Niagara Health and Saint Elizabeth Health Care, is a 16-week program that strengthens patients’ connections to both hospital and home care providers during their stay and following their discharge. This new integrated model of care enhances patient and family experiences through safe transitions from hospital to home and improved communication and coordination of services.

Our collaboration with Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre on the High-Intensity Rehabilitation Outreach Service enhances patients’ access to more intensive rehabilitation services while at Niagara Health and supports their transition to the next stage of their care. The program helps patients who no longer require hospital care maintain and/or improve their strength and physical condition.

Both programs were created through a grant from the Ontario Government.

Technology for emergency neonatal and pediatric cases

We are the first Ontario hospital to introduce video technology that allows our emergency teams to partner with McMaster Children's Hospital (MCH) to get immediate help for our youngest patients.

Recently, we have expanded our partnership with MCH by introducing similar video technology in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Our teams can communicate with experts at MCH while caring for our smallest patients, saving precious time.

Integrated Comprehensive Care program

We are receiving a lot of positive feedback from patients and families about our Integrated Comprehensive Care program. More than 1,200 patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Congestive Heart Failure have participated in the program since we launched it 3 years ago. In 2019, patients in the program experienced a 16% reduction in hospital readmissions and a 27% reduction in Emergency Department visits.

Mental health in the community

Teaming up with Niagara paramedics, one of our Mental Health nurses treats people in the community, avoiding Emergency Department visits and coordinating follow-up care as needed.

At-home dialysis treatments

Thanks to technology, patients can safely manage their dialysis treatments at home - in some cases reducing hospital visits to once a month from three times a week - while our providers monitor their treatments remotely.

Niagara Health System