Markham-Stouffville Hospital takes lead on Kids Health Alliance

Parents with sick kids can rest a bit easier these days.

Markham-Stouffville Hospital (MSH) is the first community hospital to join the Kids Health Alliance (KHA), a network created by the Hospital for Sick Children, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario – Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.

Their aim is to improve the health of children and youth by adopting a coordinated, consistent, high-quality system of healthcare for families. The KHA was founded in 2017 to strengthen the paediatric health system with members who share a common goal of improving the health of children and youth in Ontario.

“MSH is continually striving for paediatric service excellence. KHA will help us deliver enhanced quality care to our community close to home,” says Jo-Anne Marr, MSH President and CEO. “This partnership will build paediatric  clinical capacity b sharing specialized resources and expertise, and through collaboration on research and education.”

Some of the benefits of the program for MSH patients, include:

*Timely access to healthcare – improving short and long term health of children and youth through improved clinical practices and principles
*Improved access to quality care close to home through building and distributing capacity
*Enhanced coordination of health-care delivery through consistent connections along the continuum of care
*Easier transitions for patients from one health-care provider to another
*Improved access to health records through shared technology platforms
*Innovation through collaborative research and education

The collaboration was announced at MSH on Sept. 6.

Shana Betz, the mother of one of the hospital’s young patients, came out in support of the new collaboration and the treatment her 9-year-old daughter has been receiving at MSH since she was diagnosed with diabetes at 10 months old.

“As a parent of young children in Markham, I am thankful for this partnership that will bring more specialized resources close to home. It will also help if my children need to be transferred to SickKids that the transition will be that much easier and seamless,” says Betz.

Currently, in Ontario, there are six specialized children’s hospitals and 100 community and smaller hospitals with 85% of visits to paediatric health-care providers for a limited injury or condition. The KHA plans to spread childcare expertise across a complex system of patient care that also includes community paediatricians, family physicians, home nursing agencies, children’s rehabilitation services, mental health providers and schools.

Dr. Andrew Arcand heads up the Emergency Department at MSH, and also has kids of his own, insisting that your local hospital should be the first point of call in most circumstances.

“We know that at our ED at Markham-Stouffville Hospital, we provide excellent care to our paediatric patients, excellent emerg care. There really isn’t a reason to go to SickKids unless your child has very special needs and you’ve been advised to do so. All emergency issues can and potentially should be dealt with at your home community hospital,” says Arcand.

He also points to the reality that “there are some folks in the community that might choose to go to SickKids, but with this partnership, the community can feel more comfortable when their child is sick, knowing that we have a formal affiliation with SickKids, choosing to come to their local community hospital rather than going downtown,” says Arcand.

The partnership will initially focus on enhancing paediatric care in Markham Stouffville Hospital’s Emergency Department. Then through continued sharing of specialized paediatric expertise and implementation of best practices, the collaboration will extend to the enhancing care in neonatal intensive care units and paediatric inpatient units.

Photo L to R: Shana Betz, Tom Barlow, MSH Board Chair; Dr. Andrew Arcand, MSH Chief of Emergency Medicine; Jo-anne Marr, MSH President and CEO; Mike Apkon, SickKids President and CEO; Dr. Deepa Grewal Chief of Paediatrics; and Barbara Steed, Executive Vice President, Patient Services & Chief Practice Officer.

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