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Halton Healthcare expands program that helps divert ER visits

Initiative allows doctors, nurses to quickly connect patients with specialists, community resources
Halton Healthcare is expanding its SCOPE program, which helps family physicians and nurses connect patients with specialists and community resources.

Halton Healthcare is expanding its SCOPE program.

Launched in November 2021, SCOPE (Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience) provides primary care providers with help connecting patients with hospitals and community resources to support their care. It can assist in getting quicker access to diagnostic imaging, palliative care, cardiology and long-term care. 

Halton Healthcare was the first hospital network in the province to introduce pediatrics into its SCOPE program and in the last six months has also added cardiology, orthopedics and a remote care management service. Remote care allows a nurse in a hospital to use technology to virtually monitor patients with complex, chronic conditions in their homes. This provides for early detection of changes in health and treatment to avoid admission to hospital.

A fracture clinic service will be added to SCOPE this spring.

SCOPE has alleviated administrative work for physicians, allowing them more time to treat patients, says Halton Healthcare.

“With support from the hospital and home care, family doctors like me get to use our full expertise to care for patients in the community, keeping them healthy and out of hospital,” said Georgetown's Dr. Nadia Alam, the primary care lead for SCOPE Halton Healthcare.

More than 220 family physicians and nurse practitioners have registered with SCOPE, which fields about 140 calls each month. It's estimated that since its inception, SCOPE has eliminated more than 2,000 emergency room visits by helping patients access specialists and community partners.

“Preventing unnecessary emergency department visits allows patients to get care more quickly, reduces wait times in our emergency departments and alleviates capacity pressure on our hospitals,” said SCOPE nurse navigator Fiona Ryan.

SCOPE Halton Healthcare is a partnership between Halton Healthcare, Connected Care Halton Ontario Health Team, and the Halton Physician Association, supporting family physicians and patients throughout Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville.

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