Emerging trends open doors to new possibilities
There are a number of significant factors that influence the way care is delivered at Osler and in our local health system. Understanding emerging trends, and forecasting how these may impact care in the future is the key to creating a sustainable approach to care delivery that will successfully support healthier communities. Many of these trends challenged the way we think about patients and health care today, and opened the door to exploring new and more effective ways to deliver care that go beyond.
Growing population is increasing demand for services
Osler’s three hospitals are located in the fastest growing region in the province. With the population expected to grow by 44 per cent by 2041, the increasing demand for health care services is being felt across regional service providers.
This unrelenting pressure has led to a widening funding gap that continues to stretch capacity and resources. Last year, Osler experienced more than 150 days in “code gridlock”, meaning the number of patients needing inpatient care far outweighed the number of inpatient beds we had available. While all patients’ needs were met, our dedicated staff and physicians were often providing care in unconventional spaces, including hospital hallways.
Chronic disease and complex care needs are on the rise
The diverse population in the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is vulnerable to increased incidence of chronic health conditions and complex care needs. Over the last four years as the population has grown, Osler has seen a corresponding increase in the following chronic diseases.
The seniors population, which is expected to grow by nearly 62 per cent by 2025, is among those at high risk for chronic disease. They access the health system at multiple entry points (e.g., primary care, hospital, community care, long-term care), often end up in the ED, and are repeatedly admitted to hospital and/or require long lengths of stay in acute, post-acute and community-based care.
How we socially engage is changing people’s expectations
Rapid advancements in communication technology, combined with a greater demand for organizations to be inclusive, is changing the way people access and use information, dialogue with one another, and connect with organizations.
Today, patients and families want a greater say in care planning, not only at an individual level, but at the system level as well. They want a voice at the planning table where key decisions about how and where health care is delivered are being made. They want faster access to information so they can make informed decisions about their care, and they want easier and more convenient access to services, their medical information, appointment schedules, and follow‑up care plans.
The health system is becoming increasingly fragmented
Today’s health system has become increasingly complex and fragmented, making it challenging for patients to connect with the right services to meet all their care needs. The system continues to be organized around specific conditions (e.g., heart disease, cancer, diabetes) and providers, rather than on approaches that serve a patient’s collective health needs; this leads to gaps in the delivery of health care services and offers little continuity of care for patients moving through the system. Lagging technology also impedes the sharing of information between service providers resulting in care decisions being made in isolation of the full patient story.