How the latest Auditor General’s report affects you as a Family Physician?
In the most recent report from the Office of the Auditor in Alberta, Better Healthcare for Albertans May 2017, it is noted that many recommendations have been made over the last 25 plus years that have never been implemented because there are root causes that have never been resolved. The root causes this report identifies are:
- Fragmented structure of the health system
- Lack of integration of physician services and the services of other care providers
- Lack of sharing and use of clinical information
Integrated care is identified as the framework that is evident in the highest performing health systems in the world. We need a health system in Alberta where all parts work together to produce the highest quality of care for each patient. The Office of the Auditor General insists that “Significantly better health care is within reach” in Alberta if we overcome the challenges that have stood in our way.
In reviewing the report, here is what I see as the recommendations that matter to us as family physicians:
- Building a system centered on patients with a single care plan based on the patients goals and teams to support that plan
How do you contribute to care planning in your practice?
- Integration of family physicians with the rest of the health care system
How can you connect personally with other parts of the health care system in your daily practice?
- Patients receive care in the most appropriate location which, most often, should be in a community setting rather than a hospital
How can you expand your scope of practice to keep patients in your care rather than referring them to another part of the system?
- Evidence based tools are available for decision making and care planning
What are the ways you can ensure you have the most relevant and timely recommendations and guidelines for the care of your patients?
- Linking funding and physician compensation to results
Have you considered the impacts of a blended capitation model or other payment model for your practice? If so, what do you need to put in place to make a transition to new payment models?
- Patients are engaged in their own care
How do you involve your patients in their care planning? How do you maintain that engagement between visits?
- Measurement and benchmarking of care quality and patient outcomes by everyone
Are you looking at your own data regularly to see where improvements could be made?
We need to continue to take a leadership role in the stewardship of the health system through daily actions. I truly believe that we can improve how our health care system performs if we are diligent and take responsibility for our own contributions. Our patients will appreciate it.
Dr. Fred Janke, BSc, MSc, MD, FCFP, FRRMS
President, Alberta College of Family Physicians