About Health Links

In December 2012, The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) launched integrated regional patient care networks called “Health Links,” placing primary care providers at the centre of the system to help remove barriers to care.

The North West LHIN will have five Health Links that will correspond to the five Integrated District Network (IDN) areas in the North West LHIN, as defined in the 2012 North West LHIN Health Services Blueprint, as follows: 

  • City of Thunder Bay IDN 
  • District of Thunder Bay IDN 
  • District of Rainy River IDN
  • District of Kenora IDN
  • Northern IDN 

The North West LHIN will start implementation of Health Links in April 2013.

What are Health Links?

Health Links are critical to the provincial Action Plan for transforming health care across Ontario. They will help patients receive the right care, at the right place, from the right provider at the right time.

Working together in a defined geographical area, health care providers will work across teams to identify patient-centred solutions, provide individualized care plans and improve transitions in care between and among all health care providers, including family and specialist physicians, acute and long-term care facilities, home care and community support agencies.  Health Links will initially focus on high users of the health care system, removing barriers to quality care and improving health outcomes for seniors and complex needs patients.  The goal is to improve health outcomes for complex and senior patients, improve access to care as close to home as possible, improve quality of care and provide better value for health care dollars.

All Health Links will have a lead agency such as a Family Health Team (FHT), Community Health Centre (CHC), Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) or hospital. Other members of the Health Link must be willing and able to collaborate in order to better and more quickly coordinate health care services for high-need patients such as seniors and others with complex conditions.

Spreading Health Links

Health partners in the North West LHIN wishing to establish a Health Link should contact the LHIN who will work with them to complete a readiness assessment form. The assessment focuses on specific criteria, such as: 

  • Demonstrating the ability to identify and track complex patients
  • Focusing on a defined region and organized around natural health service use patterns
  • Including a minimum 65% of region's primary care providers
  • High rate of use of Electronic Medical Records

If the assessment form indicates readiness for a Health Link, then Health Link partner organizations will be asked to submit a business plan to the LHIN. 

Tool Kit

The following documents help support the development and implementation of Health Links in the North West LHIN.

Provincial Tools

Provincial Templates

North West LHIN Tools


City of Thunder Bay IDN


Information on specific Health Links in the North West LHIN will be provided as they become available.

For more information on Health Links in the North West LHIN please contact us at nwhealthlinks@lhins.on.ca