Ontario Crowdsources Ombudsman

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The government of Ontario, Canada is calling on Canadians to help crowd source the government’s first Patient Ombudsman. The position will be new for Ontario, and the person who fills it will be there to help individual patients navigate the healthcare system.

To that end, Ontario is asking people to share names, recommendations, skill sets and any ideas they might have for crafting the position and finding the person to fill it. The call will be open until August 31, 2015. The Ontario government says that its move to crowdsource the position is part of its broader open government and citizen engagement plan.

The Patient Ombudsman will assist patients and their caregivers who have not had their concerns resolved through existing processes at hospitals, long-term care homes or community care access centers. An investigative component will also be part of the role, as the Ombudsman will be tasked with investigating healthcare organizations at the heart of these complaints.

The Patient Ombudsman will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and housed in Health Quality Ontario. The work of the Patient Ombudsman will complement the work of other existing organizations in the health system that handle complaints, including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Health Services Appeal and Review Board.

The province also has plans to improve the overall healthcare process for patients – as of Sept. 1, 2015, all public hospitals will be required to have a staff member responsible for overseeing the patient relations process as well as other measures to improve patient relations.

The website for recommendations is available here.