Health Links

What is a Health Link?

A Health Link is made up of patients, caregivers, health care providers, and community support service agencies that work together to improve the results of patients needing extra care. 

These partners will create a plan that is made specifically for each patient, making certain that the patient’s goals are met and that there are no bumps in the road moving between care providers; along with easier access to specialists, home care services and other community supports, including mental health services.

Who is a Health Care Provider?

The terms ‘Health Care Provider’ and ‘Health Service Provider’ can both be used to describe a professional providing health care supports and services to patients. 

These providers may include:  Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Chiropodists, Occupational Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, Physiotherapist, Pharmacist, or Registered Nurse.

Other examples include:

Organizations that provide health care, equipment or supplies
Local hospitals and your primary care provider
Other health partners that assist in providing health care e.g. Canadian Mental Health Agency (CMHA), Supportive Housing in Peel (SHIP), Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)
Community and social service agencies e.g. Meals on Wheels

Who should be involved with a Health Link?  

Patients with……

Complex health care needs
Frequent medical events
Frequent or multiple visits to primary care
Frequent or multiple visits to emergency departments
Unstable housing
Income or financial challenges
Transportation challenges
Multiple health care providers

What does a Health Link do?

The goal of a Health Links is to increase collaboration, communication, and care coordination with the patient, primary care and other care providers to deliver patient-centred care to meet the goals and care needs of patients and their families.

Health Links will share information  through an Eletronic Health Record, after a patient has given consent, and measure results while working with their Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to achieve short- and long-term goals, such as:

Developing coordinated care plans for complex patients.
Increasing the number of complex and senior patients with regular and timely access to a primary care provider.
Reduced unnecessary hospital admissions and re-admissions within 30-days of discharge.
Reduced avoidable Emergency Department visits for patients with conditions that may be best managed elsewhere.
Improve same day/next day access to primary care.
Reduced time from a primary care referral to specialist consultation for complex patients.
Reduced time from referral to first home care visit (where appropriate).
Reduced alternate level of care (ALC) days in hospital.
Improve the overall patient care experience for patients with the greatest health care needs.

What Health Links Will Achieve For Patients/Caregivers?

An individualized Care Plan that creates a path for two-way communication between a patient and their health care providers
Smooth transitions between care providers
Patient-provider relationships built on trust and respect
Improving the patient’s journey through the healthcare system
Reduced wait times, visits to the emergency department, and unnecessary hospital admissions

For an example of how a community Health Link can make a difference in a patient's life, read Bernice's story.

Would you like more information on Health Links?

Central West LHIN

Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Click on any of the links to find out more information on Dufferin Health Link Community Partners

How to make a referral to the Dufferin Health Link? 

For patients – please discuss with your primary care provider or call the Dufferin Health Link Coordinator at 519-938-8802 ext 310

For physicians or community partners – please complete the referral form and fax to the Dufferin Health Link Coordinator at 519-938-8128.