November 1, 2018
Last week, more than 70 doctors from Prince Albert and Shellbrook dedicated three days to exploring different ways of designing and delivering health care for the patients and communities they serve. Eleven patient and family advisors also provided their perspective and guidance, while staff and leaders from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the Ministry of Health and Health Quality Council were in attendance to lend support. What really impressed me about this event was that more than half of ALL physicians who call this part of Saskatchewan home took themselves out of their clinical practices to be part of this initiative to plan for the future.
The three-day event, hosted in Prince Albert, included a variety of large and small group discussions. Together we heard a wide spectrum of stories from both patients and physicians about their experiences and outcomes in our health care system. We also looked at data from a variety of sources that outlined some amazing successes as well as some significant unmet needs in the community, and benefited from the sharing of themes that emerged from one-on-one interviews with all Prince Albert and Shellbrook doctors (conducted by a team of ten of their peers).
I truly believe that one of the foundations of a transformed health care system is ready access to meaningful data that helps us know how we and our patients are doing. As physicians, we all understand the importance of accurate and compelling data, especially in instances when we want to move forward and find a better way. I have yet to meet a doctor who does not want to receive information about who they are looking after and how their patients are doing. We’re hungry for information that will help us inform our decision-making, improve safety and quality, and create better care for our patients, whether it is in the emergency room or in the doctor’s clinic.
Just a few weeks ago, a huge step forward was made by the launch of BestPractice’s
Primary Care Panel Reports, which provides Saskatchewan family physicians with relevant information about their patient population. The reports help our family physicians better understand who they see and what happens to their patients after they leave their office. They are developed for physicians by physicians as a partnership between the Saskatchewan Medical Association, Health Quality Council, eHealth Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians and the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine Department of Academic Family Medicine.
In Prince Albert, I talked with a family physician who had already received her report. She proudly showed me what was going well, and with a wonderful sense of curiosity, said she wanted to learn more about how to better support her patient’s mental health needs. You can see a sample report
here and you can request your own Primary Care Panel Report
At last week’s event, the doctors in Prince Albert and Shellbrook also explored what leadership roles and responsibilities they would need to consider to further improve patient care, and discussed principles related to compensation. These doctors are to be commended for their willingness to embrace discomfort and their ability to examine how things currently are in our health system. They asked a lot of honest questions that generated a healthy and respectful debate about our current challenges and possible solutions. It was incredibly clear that this community of doctors wants to make things better for the generations of physicians, patients and health care professionals to come.
As we were preparing to head back to our families and clinical responsibilities, knowledge keeper Andre Letendre shared his reflections with the group. He reminded us that all of our lives we are preparing for what will come next, adding “It’s not really about you. It’s about the future.”
From what I heard last week in Prince Albert, our doctors are ready and willing to help us all prepare for the generations to come.
How do you think we can improve the care experience for patients while bettering the work experience of health care providers not only in Prince Albert and area but also across Saskatchewan? I would love to hear your thoughts at
Dr. Susan Shaw
Chief Medical Officer