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Supporting the Circle of Care: The Role of a Digital Front Door in Healthcare

What is the “circle of care,” why does it impact patients and providers, and how does a digital front door help address communication challenges? Keep reading to learn about using a digital front door to support the entire circle of care.

What is Ontario’s PHIPA Circle of Care?

Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) provides a set of rules for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal health information. Under the PHIPA, "health information custodians" (HICs)—such as a physician’s office or hospital—must treat all personal health information as confidential. 

Individuals have a right to access their personal health information and instruct HICs not to share it with others. In fact, patient consent is required for the collection, use, and disclosure of almost all personal health information—with very few exceptions. That’s where the PHIPA circle of care comes in. Although “circle of care” isn’t explicitly defined in the PHIPA, the concept is central to understanding it. 

The PHIPA circle of care consists of a strong, compassionate support network that forms around a person undergoing medical treatment or care, including providers, family, and caregivers. Members of a patient’s circle of care can assume a patient has consented to them collecting, using, and disclosing personal health information for the purpose of providing top-quality healthcare.

Challenges related to the circle of care typically involve communication breakdowns, which can occur even when all or most healthcare professionals work in the same building. Fortunately, technology can improve communication not only between caregivers but also among a patient’s entire circle of care.

How Technology Supports the Circle of Care

Using a digital front door—which essentially serves as a digital care companion for patients—supports the circle of care by helping achieve:

Enhanced Communication
A digital front door facilitates better communication between patients and providers, promoting a more collaborative healthcare experience for the entire circle of care. Patients, family members, and providers can stay connected between appointments using secure two-way messaging to access aftercare instructions and clinical support.

Effective Care Management
Effective care management is another benefit of using a digital front door, which connects patients to the right providers and level of care at the right time. Patients can access and coordinate care for both themselves and their family members because sometimes the person making the request isn’t the person who needs the care.

Centralization of Data
Using a digital front door presents a holistic view of individual health, facilitating more precise and personalized care by consolidating comprehensive health records. Maintaining comprehensive health records that integrate personal, clinical, and lifestyle data also supports a coordinated care model, leading to more effective collaboration.

Improved Data Security
A digital front door puts the person at the center of their own care and provides the opportunity for them to see and choose when to share their data with others. Patients must consent and opt to share their information, which aligns with the PHIPA while also significantly improving communication and coordination.

Using Akinox’s Digital Front Door to Enhance Care 

Using a digital front door not only supports the circle of care for each patient but also enhances care quality as a whole. Akinox’s digital front door—which is part of our virtual care platform—offers a wide range of features that facilitate efficient, personalized care. 

Patients and caregivers gain access to customized care pathways, curated health and self-help education, patient-centric tools such as appointment scheduling, and secure, direct messaging with providers. As a result, the entire circle of care is supported, connected, and empowered to deliver the best patient experience possible.


Book a consultation to learn more about Akinox’s digital health solutions.