Critical Care Strategy

CritiCall Ontario

CritiCall Ontario is a 24-hour-a-day emergency consultation and referral service for hospital-based physicians in Ontario who require additional support or resources to care for their emergent or urgent patients. Formally established as a province-wide service in 1996, CritiCall Ontario began in 1988 in Hamilton, Ontario, as the Regional Emergency Access to On-Call Health Professionals Program. CritiCall Ontario is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) to deliver the following key services to support the provincial healthcare system:

Case Facilitation: Hospital-based physicians who require additional support or resources to care for an urgent or emergently ill or injured patient can contact CritiCall Ontario's Call Centre at 1-800-668-4357 (HELP) to access a consultation from a physician specialist to assist with patient management issues and decision making. If the physicians determine the patient requires transfer to another hospital with higher level of care resources, CritiCall Ontario will use the Provincial Hospital Resource System (PHRS) which contains an inventory of services and resources at acute care hospitals in the province, to locate a hospital and physician specialist to accept the patient into care.

As of December 9, 2015, CritiCall Ontario will further assist hospitals by facilitating transport coordination for patients who in accordance with the Provincial Life or Limb Policy, are confirmed by the consulting specialist to be at risk of losing life or limb if they cannot be moved to a higher level of care within approximately four hours.

The Provincial Hospital Resource System: To further support case facilitation processes, CritiCall Ontario also manages the Provincial Hospital Resource System (PHRS). This system is available to all -health and addictions beds, dialysis centres) and other hospital resources. This information is used by CritiCall Ontario to assist with day-to-day decisions related to patient transfer and during Moderate Surge or times of local, regional or provincial disaster or crisis when a coordinated response to patient decanting is required. The MOHLTC, LHINs and hospitals also use the PHRS to assess bed availability in real time to manage patient flow.

Provincial Quality Improvement Initiatives: CritiCall Ontario provides client relations services to hospitals, LHIN stakeholders, and provincial specialty groups and partners to assist with the identification, development and implementation of provincial and LHIN-based quality improvement initiatives that use CritiCall Ontario services and systems to enhance access to critical care and specialty services for urgent and emergent patients. By way of example, CritiCall Ontario contributes to the Southwest Adult Critical Care Response Team; the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Critical Link; the North East Virtual Intensive Care Unit and the Toronto Neurosurgical Collaborative.

Decision Support: CritiCall Ontario produces reports on the volume and distribution of patients accessing and receiving critical care and specialty services in Ontario for hospitals, LHINS, the MOHTLC and specialty groups. These reports provide information on the types of services required by the healthcare system and where opportunities for resource allocation or process improvement exist to improve access to critical and emergent healthcare services within Ontario.

The Critical Care Information System (CCIS): CritiCall Ontario operates the CCIS on behalf of Hamilton Health Sciences, the "Prescribed Person" for the CCIS. A component of the Provincial Critical Care Strategy, the CCIS is used in all Ontario critical care units to collect data on the needs of critical care patients and associated workload for ICU staff. CritiCall Ontario provides educational, technical, administrative and operational support for the system with strategic input from Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO).

For more information please visit CritiCall Ontario or call (289) 396-7000.

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1–866–532–3161 (Toll–free)
In Toronto, (416) 314–5518
TTY 1–800–387–5559.
In Toronto, TTY (416)327–4282
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm

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