It seems like we have been trying to improve our health care system forever. We know there are problems: access, wait times and the ‘grey tsunami’ to name a few. We also know that in Canada health care is consuming over 40% of provincial budgets and increasing. We have an expensive and under performing system.

I recently attended the 2nd of 3 annual conferences hosted by the Monieson Centre of Queen’s University School of Business.  The invited speakers came from a variety of backgrounds and from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Australia. This conference is focused on ‘Creating Strategic Change in Health Care’.  The 3 questions posed by the Conference organizers were:

  1. What form could a Canadian healthcare strategy take?
  2. How could provinces and territories come together to achieve a uniquely Canadian strategy model around four key issues: health human resources, integrated care, electronic health records and pharmacare?
  3. What is a viable process for change?

I sat on a panel discussing the electronic health record. It became clear that like so many other sectors trying to develop a coherent policy that could be adopted by all the health care sectors was very unclear. Politics and competition were things that often got in the way. What we heard repeatedly was that we cannot wait for politicians to solve these important health care issues for us. The system must rely on some ‘bottom up’ evolution of workable ideas that will improve health care in Canada.

CPCSSN is one of these ideas. In order to drive change in primary care, physicians have to see themselves differently. We can no longer be ‘free agents’ when it comes to care provision and dismiss our responsibilities for the population for which we serve. CPCSSN provides the power of information to primary care practitioners about their practice population, their peers and an opportunity to consider their role in improving healthcare in the community.

Health care system change is a big chunk to bite off all at once but if each one of us figure out how we might do it better in our context and our local community, good things can happen.

August 2014