Statement: MANDATE THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH TO ESTABLISH A SYSTEM TO ATTACH PATIENTS TO THEIR NP CARE PROVIDERS AND CAPTURE THE RELATED HEALTH CARE DATA FOR THE CARE PROVIDED BY NPs IN ONTARIO.
In Ontario, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) work in all areas across the health care spectrum including; acute care, primary care, long-term care, home care, mental health and addictions, independent practice and many other niche health care domains. Often they are valued partners within interdisciplinary health care teams providing comprehensive care to patients. Hundreds of NPs work in Nurse-Practitioner Led Clinics (NPLCs) that provide for the comprehensive primary care needs of hundreds of thousands of patients within the Regions they exist. The NP scope-of-practice also allows for the independent assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan development for patients. Often times, NPs will be the most responsible provider (MRP) for their patients and develop long term health care provider relationships with their patients.
There are over 4,200 NPs in Ontario, treating hundreds of thousands of patients. This statement lacks the details of how many patients NPs treat as a result of the lack of information tracked about the provision of care by NP. The health care legislative and regulatory system in Ontario does not associate/attach/enroll the patients of NPs with their NP care providers, even when they are the most responsible provider. Related, there is no system in place to track the health care activity of the NPs in Ontario.
The current system identifies patients that have an NP as their MRP as ‘unattached’ to a health care provider despite having their health care needs provided by an NP and frequently on a long-term basis. There is a significant gap in healthcare data as it relates to health care provided by NPs in Ontario. Health care data for hundreds of thousands of patients is missing due to the gaps in the system where NPs are the MRP. This is a significant concern as Ontario moves to delivery of health care through regionally centric Ontario Health Teams. Accurately understanding the health care needs of any Region’s population, requires a system that captures data about who the MRPs are for patients and tracks the treatment data they provide for each patient.