The idea for GeriMedRisk began back in 2013 when Dr. Joanne Ho was a Resident Physician with the University of Toronto Geriatric Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology Program completing a clinical rotation at the Ontario Poison Centre. The ability to provide a highly specialized, evidenced based clinical consultation service that would be accessible to everyone served as an inspiration and sparked a flame that would help to form the foundation for what GeriMedRisk is today. In 2016, while working at Grand River Hospital, Dr.’s Joanne Ho and Sophiya Benjamin identified a need to help older adults particularly those suffering from complex illnesses and who were prescribed multiple medications. Together they envisioned a clinical service that would give all older adults in Ontario access to highly trained specialists that included geriatric medicine, geriatric psychiatry, geriatric pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists.
With the guidance, financial support and direction from many skilled and talented colleagues such as Jennifer Tung, Derelie Mangin (McMaster Family Medicine), the Labarge Optimal Aging Opportunities grant, the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Initiative (CABHI), Research Institute for Aging (RIA), McMaster University, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHAWW), Ho and Benjamin conducted a stepped wedge cluster randomized control trial to test feasibility of their program model in LTC homes in their local region of Waterloo Wellington. With the help of Wilfred Laurier University, operations research experts and local clinicians, the model was tested to scale up incrementally to include 3 regions and eventually the entire province. Consistently, the trials demonstrated that this new program could decrease patient wait times and help to prevent hospitalizations. In 2018 the Ministry of Health funded GeriMedRisk to provide services in three regions in Ontario and in 2019 funding was granted for GeriMedRisk to serve the entire province. Today clinicians from across Ontario can access GeriMedRisk by telephone, fax, e-Consult (OTN and BASE e-Consult) and through Central Intake services in North Simcoe Muskoka, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) and Champlain regions. In 2020, GeriMedRisk was incorporated as a Federal not-for-profit organization and established a Board of Directors. From a small group to a team of 22, GeriMedRisk continues to grow.
A passion for education and research has been an integral part of GeriMedRisk since its inception. From teaching resident physicians, hosting monthly educational sessions and creating older adult specific drug information materials, GeriMedRisk has been able to contribute to capacity building within our health care system. Working with Bruyère Institute, the Regional Geriatric Program (RGP) Toronto and Central, McMaster Geriatric Medicine and Sid Feldman of the University of Toronto, Ho and Benjamin benefited from examples of high quality, evidenced based resources and today GeriMedRisk’s clinical rounds captures audiences from across Canada, North America and Internationally.
As Co-Executive Directors of GeriMedRisk, we are guided by our experiences as clinicians, researchers, care-partners and educators. We strive to integrate with local systems thoughtfully and collaboratively and as an asynchronous and remote service, we are particular about the protection of health information entrusted to us. We are grateful to the many organizations that invested resources in GeriMedRisk and the many colleagues whose gifts of time and mentorship has made it possible for GeriMedRisk to continue its growth”
|Dr. Joanne Ho||Dr. Sophiya Benjamin|
GeriMedRisk is a nonprofit organization supported by partnerships, sponsors, and grant initiatives. Each of the following have committed essential resources to the startup and sustainability of this consultation and knowledge translation service.