What is Central Intake?

MSK Central Intake is a “virtual” centre. The concept is that all high volume orthopedic referrals are funneled into one place so that referrals can be directed to the right surgeon and/or Rapid Access Clinic as quickly as possible and in an equitable, fair manner. All referrals sent to the Central Intake Centre (CIC), are reviewed to make sure they are appropriate and complete. If a Rapid Access Clinic (RAC) is available for the condition, the referral is then assigned to a RAC located closest to the patient’s home address. If a RAC is not available for the condition, the referral is forwarded to an appropriate surgeon.

Rapid Access Clinics (RAC)

Rapid Access Clinics are a provincial initiative to ensure patients get faster access to care for musculoskeletal conditions. In the past, many patients have often waited months for imaging tests or an appointment to see a surgical specialist, often to discover that they don’t need tests or surgery. There may have been inadequate information, support and guidance regarding their condition or conservative treatment options.

Rapid Access Clinics are services where advanced practice professionals e.g. nurse practitioners, physiotherapists or chiropractors, have been provided additional specialized training in order to assess or “triage” musculoskeletal conditions and to determine the fastest and best care for your patients symptoms based on the evidence.

Hip and Knee Rapid Access Clinic

The Hip and Knee Rapid Access Clinic (RAC) – formerly called the Total Joint Assessment Clinic (TJAC) – is a provincial healthcare initiative that was started to provide all Ontarians with timely access to high-quality, integrated musculoskeletal (MSK) care for joint pain and disability related to hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Referrals are sent to the Central Intake (CI) where they are screened to make sure they are appropriate and complete. The referral is then assigned to a RAC located closest to your patient’s home address. There are 5 RAC’s within the Champlain LHIN: Cornwall Community Hospital, Hôpital Montfort, The Ottawa Hospital (Civic campus), Queensway Carleton Hospital and Pembroke Regional Hospital. The clerical staff at the RAC will contact the patient to schedule an appointment. During the appointment at the RAC, patients will be assessed by a specially trained Advanced Practitioner (nurse or physiotherapist) who will perform a standardized assessment and will discuss care options and make recommendations for care. If the patient does not require surgery, patients will be provided with a self-management plan.

If the patient meets the criteria for surgery, they will be referred to an orthopedic surgeon who will meet with them and decide if surgery is the best option. Patients or practitioners may choose a specific surgeon, a specific hospital or the surgeon with the shortest wait time within the region.

Referring practitioners will be provided with a letter outlining the course of treatment and giving suggestions for other care e.g. physiotherapy, injections.

What is ISAEC?

The Interprofessional Spine Assessment & Education Clinic (ISAEC) – also known as the Low Back Rapid Access Clinic – is designed to improve the health care experience and outcomes for patients with acute or persistent unmanageable low back and back related leg pain (e.g. sciatica) lasting more than six weeks but less than 12 months. It provides timely access to specialist assessment, personalized education and self-management programs and/or expedited access to appropriate further testing or specialist referrals including surgical consult as needed.

Patient referrals are sent by a family physician or nurse practitioner via e-referral to ISAEC central Intake (CI) where they are screened to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria. The referral is then assigned to an advanced practice clinician (APC). These are either extended-scope physiotherapists or chiropractors who have been selected based on their knowledge and expertise in assessment and management of low back pain, who have then been provided additional surgeon-led training to fulfill this advanced practice role. Their professional designation is not relevant to their ISAEC role as every APC provides a standardised assessment and recommendations based on current evidence based practice guidelines. No hands-on treatment is provided.

The practitioner to whom the patient is assigned will be the closest to their home address.

Patients will be contacted to make an appointment to be seen within four weeks. Once assessed, patients will be given management recommendations based on their specific case and the current best practice evidence in the management of low back and low back related pain.

Patients who require diagnostic imaging will receive expedited access through ISAEC. Patients requiring surgical consultation will have expedited access to a spine surgeon. Patients may choose a specific surgeon, or the first available surgeon within the region. Patients who do not require surgery will be provided with a personalized evidence-based self-management plan and may be seen within ISAEC for follow-up dependent on their presentation, to determine if this plan is of benefit or if further care is required.

Medical Conditions

Each medical condition section contains information that explains the anatomy of the relevant common musculoskeletal (MSK) problem, proven treatments or procedures, additional educational resources, and community care links.

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Meet Our Surgeons

View our orthopedic surgeons by name, specialty, or location for details. You and your patient can choose a preferred surgeon or you can also choose the first available surgeon, in which case your referral will be sent to the appropriate surgeon within the area with the shortest wait time.

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ChamplainMSKcare serves the Champlain region of Ontario through our partner hospitals, Rapid Access Clinics (RACs), advanced care practitioners, and surgeons. We are provincially funded and our services are covered by OHIP.