Health & Wellness
How healthy is our health care system? How can we improve it?
Dr. Pat Parfrey Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University
Newfoundland and Labrador spends 61% of its health budget on institutions. The average in the rest of Canada is 50%. While some of this spending is related to the need for institutions in small towns, in reality the number and type of institutions we are currently supporting were structured based on a population with more children and fewer elderly than we have at present.
It is likely that more efficient delivery of acute hospital services is possible. Furthermore,
up to 30% of testing, imaging and drug use is probably unnecessary. Unnecessary interventions are a particular problem when they are associated with harm – for example, antibiotics for viral infections that induce resistance to antibiotics in bacteria, making bacterial infections more difficult to treat; unnecessary continuation of drugs that have side effects such as proton pump inhibitors; and unnecessary CT scanning where the radiation may predispose to cancer. The cost of the health system is driven by demand, some of which is unnecessary. We can all play a small role in this by discussing with our doctors whether a particular intervention is necessary.
Innovations in Health
12 New Primary Health Care Sites
These new Primary Health Care Sites work with communities to design new models of collaborative team-based care, improving chronic disease prevention and management, increasing access to care and reducing the strain on emergency rooms.
2 New Family Practice Networks
Family Practice Networks are part of a provincewide initiative to help physicians work together to tackle larger health issues (eg. mental health and chronic disease management) with collaborative, tailor-made solutions for their communities
– pooling resources, improving access and enhancing care.
Over 250 eDOCSNL Physicians & Nurse Practitioners
Over 250 physicians and nurse practitioners are now using the Electronic Medical Record program to manage patient medical information. This shift can help streamline administration, improve access to critical information for timely patient care and enable collaboration across inter-professional health care teams.
Health Care for Refugees
Dr. Christine Bassler PHYSICIAN
For many refugees the journey to come here has involved enduring significant
trauma, including exposure to war crimes and human rights violations, travelling
hundreds of miles on foot, and spending months or years in poverty and prolonged displacement at refugee camps with limited medical care. Once they arrive here they are able to access medical care that is open to all residents, but for many it’s not that easy. Imagine trying to find out where your appointment is and how to walk there, or what bus to take to get there on time, if you can’t speak or read English. At medical appointments interpretation can also be a barrier. If no interpreter is available, physicians can use online interpretation for some languages, but communicating complicated medical issues can still be an obstacle. Some patients bring friends or family members who have a better comfort level with English, but imagine trying to discuss a sensitive, private medical condition with your teenager as an interpreter.
The Association for New Canadians and private sponsors provide incredible support
to these newcomers, but they need more help. Health care navigators have
worked very well to address similar issues in other jurisdictions and while funding
would be required to increase their presence in this province, they would also
provide significant cost savings in reducing missed appointments and wait-times.
Growing Food Solutions
They say good things come in small packages. A local engineering student has taken that to heart and designed an innovative food production solution that fits into a parking space. READ THE FULL STORY