Canadian Medical Association

On Mar. 29, CMA President Dr. Katharine Smart hosted the first session of the 2022 Health Summit Series — a Twitter Spaces discussion focused on Harnessing our collective will to rebuild health care.

Panellists Dr. Tara Kiran, Dr. David Urbach, Dr. Nel Wieman and health activist Sue Robins brought unique insights on how to rebuild health care, including innovative ideas to strengthen primary care, reduce wait times, ensure equitable access and prioritize patients.

Listen to the conversation

Here are five key take-aways:

Build health care so every Canadian has a family doctor

  • Create the conditions so physicians can take on unattached patients
  • Expand team-based care (family health teams)
  • Continue to make family medicine attractive to future doctors — for example, through payment reform, incentives or new practice models

“My dream is that every patient in Canada has a family doctor or other primary care provider. While we still don’t have the (human resource) capacity we desire, let’s prioritize Indigenous and Black populations, people struggling with opioid addiction or people at greater risk of worse health outcomes.” — Dr. Tara Kiran, Health Summit panellist

Connect all parts of the health system

  • Share expertise between hospitals and clinics, long-term and home care providers
  • Expand capacity by creating a network of care centres
  • Reduce wait times by adopting a centralized system, where patients who are referred are seen by the first available specialist or surgeon

“To me, doing health differently means not squandering an opportunity to make much-needed reforms that will really give us a better and more resilient system as we move forward.” — Dr. David Urbach, Health Summit panellist

Make it about patients — serving and supporting their needs

  • Include them in team-based care decisions
  • Create safe spaces for feedback, both good and bad
  • Improve access to complementary health care providers

“Is there a way to care for people while on wait lists so they don't experience so much trauma? I think peer support workers, social workers and nursing navigators could probably step in and make the physician’s job a bit easier, because patients won’t be quite as distraught by the time they see them.” — Sue Robins, Health Summit panellist

Ensure cultural safety is a cornerstone of patient care

  • Address the power imbalances between health care providers and patients
  • Create respectful patient relationships based on mutual trust
  • Encourage health care providers to reflect on their personal and systemic biases

“I think cultural safety in the system, cultural humility of health care providers, provides a really good background or foundation for transforming health care in Canada.” — Dr. Nel Wieman, Health Summit panellist

Leverage innovation and creativity to rebuild health care

  • Utilize virtual care — for example, the “Virtual Doctor of the Day” program at the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia — to increase patient access
  • Embrace technological advancements, like outpatient total joint replacements, to increase efficiency and reduce wait times
  • Collaborate with health partners to deliver care to underserviced communities

“Even though as physicians, we are overworked and feeling stressed and overwhelmed, there’s always that motivation and drive to continue to advocate for patients and to be creative in looking for the solutions.” — Dr. Nel Wieman, Health Summit panellist

The CMA is holding three more Health Summit sessions in May and June. Sign up to be the first to know when registration opens.

Be part of the conversation at #CMAHealthSummit and help lead the change in health care.




Questions or Comments?

Contact CMA News
Back to top