The Northern Ontario Primary Care Network (NOPCN) unites primary care clinicians across the north. In the north, staying connected and linked to resources and networks can be difficult with numerous hospitals and clinics. The NOPCN required a site where health providers could easily share resources and collectively foster thriving practices and advocacy.

The Request

The Northern Ontario Primary Care Network unites primary care clinicians that support services in a geographical area that consists of 80% of the province of Ontario. Face-to-face interactions between care providers regularly are simply not a reality in this part of Canada. The need to create a real-time, secure communication system that supported local, regional and provincial health authorities was clear.

The NOPCN wanted a platform that was easy to use, AODA-compliant, and functional. The NOPCN needed effective project management and guidance as this site was a new concept, and the framework required significant discussion and meetings.  Shout Media worked closely with The NOPCN to develop a sitemap and wireframe to connect and support practitioners, uniting them to easily share information, ask and answer important questions, identify common challenges and share resources as a community of primary care clinicians across the North. Their goal is that every Northern Ontario citizen deserves primary care excellence that is fully supported, and this site improves communication and subsequent health care for all involved.  

The site allows clinicians to have one area to access the most helpful primary care resources from the Ministry of Health (MOH), PHO, Ontario Health, Ontario Health North (OH-North),  the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO), Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and the Northern School of Medicine (NOSM).

Journey to connect health practitioners in 80% of the province.

Shout Media was tasked with building a secure online forum to solve their need for a standard digital place for registered NPs, physicians and MDs to communicate securely on ongoing topics from within their medical field and regions throughout Northern Ontario. The secure online forum was set up using a self-hosted install of Discourse, allowing the NOPCN team to have unlimited admins and moderators. Northern Ontario Physicians vetted the platform, ensuring only valuable and relevant information was discussed. This also provided access to collaborative tools for practitioners to improve patient care and enhance two-way communications.

NOPCN About page

Poised for growth and continuous improvement

Once the platform was built, NOPCN knew they would require ongoing support and consultation for their internal communication and growth plan for the new web platform. Initially, Shout provided NOPCN with bi-weekly to monthly meetings with team leads to help organize what each organization was set out to accomplish through the forum. This includes aligning with other provincial networks working towards similar goals.

Linked directly to the health care system they work within

Access to resources and peers is now possible in a secure real-time platform. Other results included better engagement and preparedness for system changes, ease of peer consultation on health policy, and more robust and quicker patient referrals, with a solution that will continue to strengthen these networks and meet broader organizational communication goals.  A strengthened connection between individual primary care providers and related organizations providing care in the North is now in place, positively impacting patients, practitioners and health authorities in Northern Ontario.