Saturday November 01, 2014

EDITORIAL - Health initiative a good one


While the health care system often comes under heat from the public for long surgery wait lists, and sometimes hours sitting in waiting rooms waiting to see doctors, there are some positives out there that need to be applauded.

One of those things was announced in greater detail by the Sunrise Health Region last week.

The project being undertaken locally will lead to a new clinic being established where a group of family physicians will lead a team of health care professionals providing a one-stop shop of health care services for patients.

A release circulated at the press conference explained “at the clinic in Yorkton and the satellite in Foam Lake, patients will experience a variety of services including individual and shared medical visits with a team of health experts. Patients will learn how to manage their chronic condition from the team members and from the experiences of other patients with similar chronic conditions.”

Doctor Phillip Fourie, a local family physician instrumental in promoting the collaborative approach to health care explained the concept using a sport analogy.

The concept is of creating a team approach to health care by establishing a clinic that while having doctors would include nurses, dietitians, physical therapists and others, who combine their expertise to better guide patients.

Fourie said it is a design where all the professionals “work harmoniously together to improve patient access and care.”

The local physician likened it to a hockey team with each member having a role within that team so that a goaltender would not play forward, leaving that role to others. He said “it’s a collective unit working together to achieve a certain goal.

The idea is one which seems so common sense it is amazing it has not become common place ages ago.

As a doctor in Meadow Lake stated in a video played at the conference, the approach means the family physician does not have to be the expert in everything. In the multi-disciplined clinic he can turn to the expertise of others to help create a health program for specific family needs.

The patient benefits are obvious, starting with a health plan drawing on the expertise of the team, and the ability to access that with a single stop.

Certainly Fourie for his vision needs to be complimented, as does the health region for having the foresight to take the idea forward.

The project is also part of an initiative announced in May by the provincial government to establish eight primary health care innovation sites in the province, and that is an important consideration. By turning to local regions for innovative ideas they are asking front line health care professionals to offer up ideas which they believe will help them better serve patients.

If the innovative ideas work, and the clinic in Yorkton certainly looks like it can’t miss, the ideas can be shared around the province.

It’s a good approach to developing new ideas for health care taken by the Saskatchewan Party government, one which should pay dividends for the health care system moving forward.



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