Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) is a group of more than 100 physicians working in over 50 shelters and drop-ins across Toronto. ICHA provides transitional primary care, psychiatry and palliative care to those who do not otherwise have access to care. We serve people living on the street and in shelters as well as those who are precariously housed. ICHA is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health through an alternative payment plan.
During the COVID pandemic, proper hygiene and isolation of suspected and confirmed cases are some of the most important measures to guard against the spread of the virus. For patients who are homeless or in shelters, this is often not possible.
In order to respond to the crisis, ICHA contacted us to create a resource hotline for doctors who see patients with this dilemma. Rather than sending these patients out to ‘self-isolate’ in shelters, where it puts many residents at risk, the hotline is a on-stop resource to intervene.
When doctors call the hotline, they are prompted to leave a call-back number. Hypercare cross checks with the internal on-call schedule, and delivers a message to the responsible provider at that time. That on-call provider then promptly calls the call-back number, and quickly forms a plan with the referring doctor. Providers at ICHA can also communicate amongst themselves to get advice about specific cases via Hypercare messaging and file sharing, all securely and compliantly.
Within days of ICHA first contacting Hypercare, the entire team at ICHA was set up, with their schedules integrated and the phone number up and running. In order to respond to a rapidly changing global public health emergency, Hypercare can provide the tools to enable tireless healthcare workers to keep up.