Canadian Medical Association

As the pandemic exposed the deep-seated shortcomings of our health network, it quickly became apparent that the status quo was no longer an option. It is now clearer than ever that what we need is a paradigm shift.

At the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Health Summit Series held on May 26, we examined the best ways to create a system that generates value for patients, health professionals and society at large. Through dialogue between experts and users of the system, solutions were brought to light that, if implemented, would lead to positive change for Quebec’s health care system and, consequently, for the public.

For a realistic, sustainable transformation

As clearly stated by the esteemed Professor Jean-Louis Denis of l’École de santé publique de l’Université de Montréal, who spoke at the event, the concept of value can be summed up as “[…] efficiency and effectiveness, equity and innovation. We can never forget that the fundamental equation we must abide by is the ratio of costs to results.” Therefore, it is within that framework that we must find solutions.

 Of course, funding remains a central issue in the health sector. But the only way to truly succeed in improving the health care system is to be forward thinking. In other words, to create value, we need to change the way we do things.

This means re-evaluating our traditional methods and seeking out more diverse perspectives to ensure that all needs are met. We must bring in new players, give new groups a seat at the table—think caregivers, for example. After all, real change is achieved by breaking down barriers and bringing together players from all parts of the system.

Innovation is simpler than it seems

Innovation can be a frightening idea, because we tend to associate it closely with highly ambitious, complex projects. But innovation does not necessarily mean invention—we can make small changes that will have a big impact on the system. We have to keep that in mind when fostering innovation, as it will ultimately help us mobilize our troops and, above all, enhance patient experience.

Innovation also means working on new models to aid in decision making—because to move forward, we first need to know where we are heading! In this area, data will play a vital role in identifying, working on and monitoring the gaps and improvements that result from our decisions

A difficult but essential task

We can choose to see this long road that we have been on as an opportunity to finally give the people of Quebec what they deserve: an efficient health care system that is able to help everyone who knocks on its door, be it at home, at the hospital or anywhere else.

The monumental task of rethinking the health care system falls on all of us. We must take it up with zeal, for the people we have lost and for the generations that will follow.

Dr. Abdo Shabah
Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Medical Association

This commentary was originally published in Le Soleil

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