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The Ottawa Hospital transforms care for patients with low-back pain

New shared-care clinic provides comprehensive, timely and efficient care to patients with low-back pain.

OTTAWA – January 29, 2019 – The Ottawa Hospital, in partnership with the Champlain LHIN, is changing the way low-back pain is treated in the region. The hospital opened the first regional Interprofessional Spine Assessment & Education Clinics (ISAEC) in the Champlain LHIN, an innovative new practice for low-back pain and low-back related symptoms. Funded by the Champlain LHIN, this is the first regional program of its nature. ISAEC allows the hospital to work with community partners, and provide a shared-care model that will lead to better, faster and more efficient care to over 7,400 patients, annually, with low-back pain in the Champlain LHIN.

ISAEC offers an innovative way of delivering care. The clinic works with qualified health-care professionals in the community such as physiotherapists and chiropractors to help treat and manage low-back pain, in a setting closer to the patient’s home. Patients are referred to the program from their family physician, with whom ISAEC maintains communication to ensure care is optimized. Shared-care models like ISAEC encourage teamwork, and lead to a more holistic approach to managing symptoms and treatment.

“Because low-back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, patients often faced the challenge of receiving care that was not right for them,” said Dr. Eugene Wai, Head of Spine Surgery and clinical sponsor of the ISAEC program, The Ottawa Hospital. “With the ISAEC program, we can improve access to appropriate care, and increase efficiency within the system to ensure that patients are receiving the specialized, holistic care they need. We’re bringing the care to the patients, not just bringing them here for care.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care is in the process of opening multiple clinics throughout the province, following a successful six-year pilot in Toronto, Hamilton and Thunder Bay. The clinics aim to provide a more comprehensive and efficient care for patients with low-back pain.

“The ISAEC model will allow us to help patients manage low-back and low-back pain related symptoms before they become severe or persistent,” said Kirstin Henderson, Advanced Practice Physiotherapist and Practice Lead, The Ottawa Hospital. “With ISAEC we provide coordinated, accessible and standardized care across the region, that is unique to each patient, improving outcomes and overall health in our community.”

Before the ISAEC program, patients living with chronic low-back pain would often receive referrals for surgical consults, and experience longer wait times as a result. The ISAEC program allows them to be seen by specialists within three weeks of referral, and receive care closer to home, that better suits their needs. So far, patients have been pleased with their experience at the clinic, with patient satisfaction currently averaging over 96 percent. There are multiple ISAEC access points across each sub-region of the Champlain LHIN, to ensure patients do not have to travel far to see a program practitioner.

“The ISAEC program is one of many examples of the good work that results from partners collaborating to put the needs of the patients first,” said Chantale LeClerc, Chief Executive Officer, Champlain LHIN. “It ensures that people receive the appropriate services and treatments, to improve their quality of life.”

The Ottawa Hospital

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals, with more than 1,200 beds, approximately 12,000 staff members and an annual budget of about $1.2 billion.

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