Sub-Regions as the Foundation for Integrated, Local-Level Health Planning
North Simcoe Muskoka covers an area of 8,445 square kilometres and is home to 3.5 per cent of Ontario’s population, making it the second-smallest LHIN in terms of total population. The region features a greater proportion of rural and small town residents than the province, as well as some of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country. To address the unique health care requirements of residents such as retirees and seasonal residents in cottage country, growing families in newly developed suburbs, seniors in long-term care, Indigenous populations living on- and off-reserves, francophones, and others across the LHIN, the NSM LHIN has established five sub-regions to serve as the foundation for local, integrated health care planning and delivery.
What are sub-regions?
Sub-regions are smaller geographic care communities within the NSM LHIN. They are used to help plan health services at an even more local level, reflecting the reality that different communities in the region have unique health care needs that may be driven by geography, population, and demographics. Sub-region planning is led by a triad comprised of a physician, a representative from the LHIN’s planning and integration team, and a member of the home and community care team.Sub-regions are not another layer of bureaucracy. Instead, they offer a better way to plan and improve health services in a manner that is more in line with the diverse needs of communities within our LHIN.
Why were sub-regions established?
Sub-regions have been in place informally in North Simcoe Muskoka for several years, but were formalized by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2017. Using a data-driven approach to evaluate care patterns—such as patient referrals and insights from patients, providers, and community members—sub-regions can help improve access to local health care services when and where they’re needed most, and to deliver them in the most appropriate and efficient way possible. For example, the requirements of the Barrie and Area sub-region, with a population size of almost 220,000, are significantly different that those of the North Simcoe sub-region, with a population size of just over 48,000.
Sub-region planning has played a central role in advancing the strategic priorities of the NSM LHIN, and will be the cornerstone of the next Integrated Health Service Plan, which will guide the local health system from 2019-2022.
What are sub-region planning tables?
The overarching goal of sub-region planning tables is to create a local health system that is safe, effective, patient-centred, efficient, timely, and equitable. Sub-region planning tables bring together stakeholders from across sectors—such as physicians, nurses, clinicians, and community partners—as well as patients and caregivers, to collaborate in planning for the populations in their respective geographies. Sub-region planning tables:
- Assess local health needs
- Plan to improve patient experiences and outcomes
- Implement innovative and integrated strategies
- Evaluate local health system performance
- Address system-level concerns/issues/risks