Is It Safe to Gather With Others During The COVID-19 Pandemic? Use This Tool to Find Out: CovidVisitRisk.com

The Visit Risk Calculator (CovidVisitRisk.com) is a new assessment tool launched by the NIA (National Institute of Ageing) in partnership with the Government of Canada to help Canadians assess the risk-level associated with social gatherings.

Using the best available scientific evidence and the input of leading experts in infectious diseases, public health and epidemiology, the website was developed to help people of different ages and states of health better understand the factors that affect the risk of getting COVID-19 when visiting or gathering with others.

As vaccination programs ramp up across the country, restrictions are slowly loosening. Canadians want more guidance on what fully-vaccinated people can do safely. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says, “We would like to enable people to take themselves through [this] kind of risk assessment while respecting local public health requirements.”

To use the tool, you will be asked a series of questions related to your vaccination and health status, and that of the people you want to gather with, details of the event and what the local infection rates are.

“This tool uses the best available scientific evidence to support people of all ages and states of health to make more informed decisions about gathering with others during the pandemic,” says Dr. Samir Sinha, NIA Director of Health Policy Research. “After working through the questions, people are assigned a risk level in accordance with the gathering they are considering, along with public health advice on how to meet more safely with others.”

Based on your answers, you will get a “risk score” from Low to High, a personalized report to help you understand the level of risk associated with your planned visit or gathering, and tips on how to make your visit or gathering as safe as possible for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The vision behind the tool is to prepare you and your loved ones to better discuss the potential risks and benefits of visiting or gathering with each other and in the end make a well-informed decision on how to make any necessary visits or gatherings as safe as possible.

“These risk assessments depend on your individual risk, who you’re about to get into contact with, as well as the epidemiology of your specific community,” says Dr. Theresa Tam.

As of June 25th 2021, 75% of the population 12 years and older has received at least one dose and 22% is fully vaccinated. However, COVID-19 remains an important public health issue as transmission with new variants of concern continue to circulate. Careful assessment before deciding to visit, gather, or meet with others remains vitally important.

To learn more about the COVID-19 Risk Calculator or to use it for yourself, click here.

Disclosure: EMPOWER Health helped the NIA build the online experience of the risk assessment tool, and provided technical guidance along with testing.  As always, our team is proud of our work with Public Health Organizations to help conquer COVID! Visit us at empower.ca!

References

Rabson, M. (2021, June 22). Risk-assessment tool for fully vaccinated people coming soon, Tam promises. Ctvnews.ca. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/risk-assessment-tool-for-fully-vaccinated-people-coming-soon-tam-promises-1.5481082

What the FIG/FIT/FOE? Decoding Ontario’s Family Practice Models

There’s no point sugarcoating it – the Canadian healthcare system can be overwhelming. The difference between healthcare providers, funding models and health regions, among other things, can be very confusing. We’ve learned a lot since we started iamsick.ca, and we wanted to share it with you.

Since we are located in Ontario, we wanted to start off with exploring Ontario’s family practice models.

You may have heard healthcare professionals talk about “fits”, “figs”, “fins” and “foes”. You may even be part of one! As you probably guessed, these terms don’t refer to tantrums, fruits, fish and unknown enemies. In fact, they refer to acronyms that describe the different kinds of family practices in Ontario.

Each practice model differs by the kinds of services offered, the number of hours committed by the doctor, their purpose and their funding model. We created the infographic below to summarize the four most confusing models: FHTs, FHGs, FHNs and FHOs. Read on for a more descriptive summary.

What the FIT/FIG/FIN/FOE?

1. Family Health Teams (FHT)

When you hear “fit” in the context of Ontario healthcare, chances are the speaker is referring to Family Health Teams. FHTs are multi-\disciplinary, meaning many different kinds of healthcare providers work together as your healthcare team. It is possible that there are many clinics or location that belong to one FHT.

Clinics associated with a FHT offer different healthcare services, such as pharmacies, diabetes management and mental health services. Each FHT has a different set of services, so it’s a good idea to check with your clinic.

2. Family Health Groups (FHG)

Family Health Groups may be smaller than FHTs, and are not multi-disciplinary. FHGs are a group of 3 or more doctors who have committed to providing after-hours care in addition to being available during regular hours.

Here, physicians are paid fee-for-service. Simply put, this means that family physicians are paid based on what service or procedure they perform.

3. Family Health Networks (FHN)

Like FHGs, Family Health Networks are groups of 3 or more doctors who are working as a team to provide care during regular and after hours. However, there are two main differences between FHNs and FHGs.

First, FHNs can apply to become FHTs. If they are successful in transitioning into a FHT, they can receive funding to bring multidisciplinary care providers to the team.

Second, FHNs are funded under a blended capitation model. The way it is calculated is complicated, but a simple way of understanding it is each family doctor is paid per patient. The amount that is paid per patient differs based on a predetermined set of criteria. In the case of FHNs, these criteria account for the patient’s age and sex.

4. Family Health Organizations (FHO)

Finally, we have Family Health Organizations. Like FHGs and FHNs, family physicians working in this model work in groups of 3 or more, and commit to regular and after hours services. FHOs can also apply to become FHTs, just like FHNs.

However, family doctors in FHOs are paid differently. They are still paid in the blended capitation model. The criteria used to determine the base pay is calculated differently.

Now you know the difference between FHTs, FHGs, FHNs and FHOs!

If you are looking for a new family doctor accepting new patients, visit iamsick.ca and click “Family doc accepting new patients” to see your nearby options.

Are you a patient or healthcare provider in any of these models? What do you think about these different structures? Let us know below!