Dr. Steven Zizzo is awarded with the prestigious OntarioMD Luminary Award

At Winterberry we could not be more proud of the prestigious medical awards our Medical Director, Dr. Steven Zizzo has been honoured with this fall.

One of the awards was given by OntarioMD (OMD) for Dr. Zizzo’s outstanding vision, leadership and commitment to the implementation of digital tools and processes that ultimately improve patient experience.

We are proud to share the letter and the accolades from OntarioMD:

Luminary Award Letter 

Dear Dr. Zizzo,

On behalf of OntarioMD (OMD), I’m pleased to inform you that you are a winner of a 2022 OMD Luminary Award for your outstanding contribution to digital health in Ontario. You were nominated by Krysta Simoes, who submitted a description of why you deserve this award:

“Dr. Zizzo and Winterberry Family Medicine use PS Suite EMR and Pomelo to run an organized and efficient medical practice with a convenient and smooth experience that reduces the stress and anxiety patients often feel when visiting their doctor.

Dr. Zizzo personally undertook the important task of operating Winterberry Family Medicine throughout the pandemic, maintaining existing patient-doctor relationships, all the while expanding the clinic’s operations to administer over 35,000 (and counting) COVID-19 immunizations, including counselling sessions to educate and ease the concerns of vaccine-hesitant patients.

Without these digital tools, Dr. Zizzo and Winterberry could not have achieved these monumental feats in such a short time frame.  Using Pomelo in tandem with PS Suite EMR, Dr. Zizzo created an online booking system whereby patients could also learn about COVID-19 vaccination, update their demographic data, and consent to immunization. This system was more functional than the approach taken by the Ministry of Health, which operated on a “first come, first serve” basis, creating considerable delays to Ontarians trying to get their vaccine and the clinics administering the vaccines. Neither of these difficulties occurred under Winterberry’s system.

Dr. Zizzo created visit templates “PS chart stamps” and “encounter assistants” as well as medical directives for staff to safely and efficiently assess, document, counsel, and administer COVID-19 vaccines. These templates allowed visit records to be searchable and ensured a high quality of service delivery and documentation.  Pairing these EMR and virtual care technologies with iPads and LTE data plans allowed Winterberry to increase the clinic’s accessibility and accommodate Ontarians living with disabilities or other extenuating circumstances. Thanks to these technologies and Dr. Zizzo’s leadership, Winterberry was able to deliver and administer COVID vaccines at patients’ homes or while they remained in their vehicles in the parking lot.

The virtual care platform also allowed Dr. Zizzo to consult patients in the exam room without needing to come into physical contact with them, thus minimizing the risk of COVID transmission for patients and staff. Each of Winterberry’s 16 exam rooms were equipped with high-speed internet, PS Suite EMR, Pomelo, and virtual care capabilities with a microphone and camera.  Dr. Zizzo has a heart for supporting his community.

That is why he spent tens of thousands of dollars resourcing Winterberry and its staff, and spent hundreds of hours on education, planning, and management of certainly one of the largest (if not the largest) private COVID-19 immunization clinics in Canada. His efforts began in May 2021—when virtually no other family practice offered these vaccines—and continue to this day. When Dr. Zizzo saw the need for increased health capacity, he went straight to work, offering Winterberry’s services to Hamilton Public Health (HPH). Dr. Zizzo took on patients from other practices, children, and disadvantaged, high-risk, rural, disability, or otherwise vulnerable communities—whoever needed a vaccine was welcome at his practice. 

These accomplishments were made possible with Pomelo, PS Suite EMR, and of course, Dr. Zizzo’s vision, grit, and dedication to his community. Dr. Zizzo acted heroically, doing what he knew was best for his community, all while showcasing the value of family medicine and the power of technological innovation.”