Canadian Medical Association

More than 800 people registered for the CMA’s second Bold Choices in Health Care event on Dec. 8 – a discussion on rethinking how we deliver care with CMA President Dr. Alika Lafontaine, emergency physician, CBC Radio host and author Dr. Brian Goldman, former Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, family physician and researcher Dr. Rita McCracken and patient advocate Claire Snyman.

Here are the key highlights:

“We need to stop focusing on health care heroes and focus on health care humans.” — Dr. Rita McCracken 

Dr. McCracken called out the pressure on individual providers to shoulder the burdens of a broken health system without sufficient resources. New care models, including remuneration, need to incentivize good patient care at the same time they support care providers. 

“Within five years all family medicine should be team-based care.” — Deb Matthews 

Panelists agreed on the benefits of team-based primary care. Dr. McCracken pointed out that successful health systems in other countries focus on clinics rather than individual physicians. The need for providers to work seamlessly together across primary, emergency and speciality care – from physicians to social workers to pharmacists – was also echoed by participants: for patients, it means less time and effort seeking and navigating care, in particular for those with complex, chronic and mental health conditions; for providers, it allows a focus on what they do best and fosters patient relationship-building.

“We have to build time back into the system.” — Dr. Brian Goldman

Time pressure is pervasive in health care, creating poor experiences for both patients and providers. One solution is a single regional referral list for specialist appointments and procedures such as hip replacements – relieving administrative burden on physicians and shortening wait times for patients. 

“Health care belongs in your own community.” — Dr. Rita McCracken

Community health centres were identified as an existing care model that could be scaled up across the country to support the delivery of team-based care close to home, with each one serving residents of a particular area, similar to the public school system. 

“’My story of my health care’ is essential to good care.” — Claire Snyman 

Patients must be partners in care. “Good health care responds to the needs of patients,” said Dr. Goldman, “it’s not foisted on them.” To facilitate participation from patients, Snyman called for efforts to improve health literacy and for more transparency on their health care journey – for example, when they can expect to be scheduled for surgery or hear back from a specialist – to reduce the burden of navigating the system. 

“If I were to give you an example of a model of good care, it would have an information-sharing system wrapped around it.” — Claire Snyman

As Snyman pointed out, patients still get medical images on CDs when most computers don’t even have CD drives. It’s past time to introduce seamless, accessible electronic medical records to inform patients and providers to ensure the delivery of appropriate, effective care across the system. 

Watch the video

Join us for the third session of Bold Choices in Health Care – Feb. 22, 2023 – to hear from the next generation of health professionals on what’s needed now to create a strong workforce for the future.

The importance of aligning funding with system change was the focus of session one, held Oct. 26. Watch the highlights.

Questions or Comments?

Contact CMA News
Back to top