New program in Niagara launching today involving 80 local doctors and nurses

st. cath hospital

A new program in Niagara, involving 80 family doctors and nurses, is trying to improve health care and cut down on unnecessary ER trips.
SCOPE Niagara, which stands for Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience, is launching today.

It connects family physicians and nurse practitioners to a dedicated team of specialists from Niagara Health and from Home and Community Care. 

The primary care providers will connect with SCOPE Niagara’s nurse navigator, who will direct them to the most appropriate providers or services based on their patient's health concerns.

"As family physicians, we are seeing more and more patients who are struggling with multiple complex care needs,” explains Dr. Darija Vujosevic, Family Physician and Co-Chair of the Niagara Practitioners Healthcare Alliance (NPHA). “Most family physicians do not have access to specialist advice and have difficulties navigating the programs and services in the hospital and community. With one call, our high-risk patients who have urgent concerns are provided with the highest quality of care possible. SCOPE Niagara ensures that patients get the right care, in the right place, and at the right time so they don't have to go to the Emergency Department."

 SCOPE originated in 2012 to support family physicians in Toronto. 

The program has since grown and has been effective in streamlining care and averting both ED visits and hospitalizations. 

"Partnering more closely with our colleagues in primary care will improve patients’ experiences in the community and in the hospital, as well as decrease unnecessary ED visits,” says Dr. Johan Viljoen, Chief of Staff for Niagara Health. “SCOPE Niagara will help us better connect patients to care where they need it and reduce the number of patients who require hospital care.”