Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 3 2018 - Page 19

COORDINATION When Every Second Counts CritiCall Ontario provides important assistance at a challenging time PHOTO: iSTOCKPHOTO.COM Timely access to urgent and emergent care should not be limited by geography or even individual hospital resources. In Ontario, a grass-roots program dating back to the 1980s continues to bridge distances between emergent patients and care by providing hospital-based physicians with a single number to call when they need assistance. CritiCall Ontario, a 24-hour a day emergency consultation and referral service, is the agency to call when a doctor needs support or resources beyond what is available at his or her hospital to care for any urgent or emergent patient. CritiCall Ontario will make multiple phone calls on behalf of the referring physician, allowing the physician to focus attention back onto the patient. “Physician time is best spent caring for patients,” said Dr. Desmond Bohn, CritiCall Ontario Provincial Medical Director. “The service we provide reduces the need for physicians to make multiple phone calls and focuses on involving the physician only at times when it is most necessary.” Since its early beginnings as a regional program based in Hamilton, CritiCall Ontario has grown into a well-established provincial resource. The premise remains simple. Hospital-based physicians who need support to care for an urgent, emergent or life or limb threatened patient can contact CritiCall Ontario’s provincial call centre at 1-800-668-4357 (HELP). “Our primary goal is to bring the physicians together as quickly as possible so that they can have a discussion about the patient’s care requirements and make an informed decision about the best next steps for that patient,” said Isabel Hayward, Interim Executive Director of CritiCall Ontario. “The patient’s care is at the forefront of the discussion. All other considerations, including bed availability at another hospital, are secondary.” Emergency Department physicians tend to be the primary users of CritiCall Ontario’s call centre ser- ISSUE 3, 2018 DIALOGUE 19