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InputHealth: Delivering same-day COVID care to the residents of Ontario

At a glance

We partnered with InputHealth to deliver a SaaS solution that triages COVID-19 patients. Thanks to a speedy and effective deployment, residents living in Canada’s Ontario Health West region have access to screening, same-day care, and virtual appointments—preserving clinical capacity for those who need it most.

What we did

  • Delivery strategy
  • Delivery framework and governance
  • Project management
  • Change management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Agile methodology training

Built by physicians, for physicians

InputHealth is on a mission to redefine healthcare information technology. Both its CEO and president are qualified physicians who continue to practice family medicine. They passionately believe that doctors and patients deserve modern, user-friendly tools that enable the best care delivery.

“We became doctors to save lives,” says CEO Damon Ramsey. “And we created a software company so that we could save even more lives.”

InputHealth’s flagship SaaS product, the Collaborative Health Record (CHR), is used in medical clinics and outpatient health centers across Canada and around the world. The CHR incorporates privacy by design and creates a complete, digital record of patient care by integrating scheduling and telehealth, streamlining documentation and billing, and tracking patient outcomes. It puts care front and center and transforms the way clinics collect data.

A bold offer

At the start of the pandemic, when an emergency situation was declared in Canada, InputHealth’s team realized they could leverage the CHR and rapidly deploy a version tailored for COVID-19 population management featuring self-assessment, tracking, appointment scheduling, virtual assessments, and same-day care. The solution could even identify if a patient already had a family doctor and directly connect them. Driven to be of service to their community, they tweeted an offer to help. The initial response included a call from physicians in Ontario Health West, one of the regional authorities in Canada’s publicly funded healthcare system. A pilot of the solution was live less than two weeks later.

As a healthcare company led by practicing physicians, we felt compelled both with our medicine hat as well as our entrepreneurial hat to say, ‘We have to do something about this.’

InputHealth already had excellent project management and delivery processes and a nimble implementation team experienced at supporting clients through change. But now, the team needed to ensure the same high standards and thoroughness as they delivered technology to users on an accelerated timeframe and regional scale, all during once-in-a-century pandemic conditions.

InputHealth and Ontario Health West were looking at scaling not only to multiple clinics, but to several thousand users in days or weeks. They needed extra support and, says Ramsey, “There was a velocity, versatility, and uniqueness about Slalom that made it a logical fit.”

For the Slalom Canada team, there was no question about jumping in. “The decision to partner and commit was almost instantaneous, and then all the paperwork and formality followed,” says Sidi Goutam, client partner at Slalom. “We flipped the script entirely because that’s what the situation required.”

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Delivering at scale

Slalom partnered with InputHealth and Ontario Health West on a delivery strategy and framework that successfully deployed the COVID-19 solution to hundreds of healthcare providers in under six weeks. Our consultants engaged at every level, providing change management, stakeholder management, and project management as well as tasks like supporting draft statements of work, quality assurance, and user testing. Additionally, they introduced new agile delivery management best practices to help InputHealth’s team structure and prioritize work at scale while allowing it to remain fluid and responsive.

Throughout the project, the joint teams continued to improve on the delivery process as they received feedback from both patients and providers, making each rollout smoother. “Everyone on our team, quite honestly, was pushing themselves to the limit,” says Seth. “It was a dynamic, iterative period of constantly building, trying, learning, and repeating. We were building a ship as it was sailing into the horizon.”

Having the right framework in place ultimately enables the right outcomes: adoption and more feedback and more improvements.

Aligning in evolving circumstances

That Ontario Health West was a newly formed agency added a layer of complexity. At the end of 2019, the provincial government brought sub-regions together to provide better connected and more coordinated healthcare. They were still in the process of aligning working practices and the delivery needed to address those variables. Additionally, primary healthcare providers of all kinds—including nurse practitioners, clinical pharmacists, and pediatricians—and testing and assessment centers were going to use the solution. There clearly needed to be an ongoing change in scope anchored in who the users were and how they’d be using the system.

The situation was urgent. Spending long periods of time with each of the sub-regions and clinics on discovery, customization, and user-acceptance simply wasn’t possible. Everyone knew that building consensus and finding consistency for patients would be critical. The regional and sub-regional leadership teams partnered with InputHealth and Slalom to align workflows, assess risks around change requests, and identify must-haves that would best serve Ontarians in the acute phase of the pandemic.

Slalom consultants also partnered with the provincial government of Ontario to help Ontario Health West align its COVID-19 self-assessment to the one on the government’s website and ensure the solution was always up to date. Timely insights into permutations and logic changes ensured the residents received consistent information and recommendations, no matter which questionnaire they used.

Knowing that Slalom could support these discussions freed precious hours for InputHealth’s team. “Slalom was instrumental,” says Ramsey. “Project management where there is no technical knowledge is precarious because the project manager can’t accept feedback if they don’t really understand what they’re managing. Slalom was able to bring that technical insight.”

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Serving the community

The solution continues to be instrumental to the region’s COVID-19 response. Its leadership has leveraged its data to track numbers referred to testing centers and patients most at risk. Since deployment, Ontario Health West has screened tens of thousands of people and provided hundreds of virtual assessments—successfully preserving in-person appointments for critical cases.

And the InputHealth team is grateful to have made a difference in their community. As Seth says, “The name of our product is the Collaborative Health Record, and what could be more collaborative than bringing together an entire region?”

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