Sunday, 23 November 2014

Patient Safety Creates Patient Stories

At Health Quality Transformation 2014 the day started with two patient stories. The story in the opening remarks by Dr. Joshua Tepper demonstrated health care working well.

The other story was an analysis of what went wrong in the case of Greg Price of Alberta and was told by Dr Ward Flemons and David Price, Greg's father. Greg's case triggered a review of processes for managing dealings between referring physicians and specialists or clinics which offer specialized healthcare services in the Alberta Health Care System.

They have been sharing the findings of this Continuity of Patient Care Study with healthcare groups across the country. The gaps in Alberta are in no way unique to that province and this issue was not unique to Greg. This study came about because many Albertans gave co-ordination of care a poor rating in the HQCA (Health Quality Council of Alberta) patient experience survey.

Comments/Recommendations from this session:
Healthcare information is disconnected and laborious to track well enough to see the whole story, even for professionals.

There is a wall between the patient and the Electronic Health Records system. Patients are robbed of the information they need for their own care.

Patients should be able to track referrals made by their doctors to specialists who represent the next step in their care. Closed loop referrals would close the gap.

The motto of the Alberta Medical Association is "Patients First". We need to be clear who is accountable for the patient's health.

We need shortcuts for time sensitive conditions.

David Price had comments to make.

In healthcare there are multiple roadblocks, not a culture of seeking ways to make things better.

We need the key decision makers to listen to what patients need.

For most of the recommendations in the report there has been no change. How do we as patients get the system to listen and change?

If occurrences on his farm went wrong to this degree there would be a Hazard Analysis and all work would be halted. There are contrasting approaches between the food business and the health business. If you say standards are not do-able in the food business you are out of business.

If you read "The Cancer Olympics" by Robin McGee of Nova Scotia you will see similar issues to those in Alberta.

In Ontario my referrals to specialists seem to be lost or mislaid more often than not, so I know it happens here too.

Patient Safety

We all need to be proactive patients. Now I call a week after a referral to a specialists to make sure it arrived safely.

The only good sign to be seen is in BC where Delia Cooper, as the patient representative from Patient Voices with Providence Health Care and the Shared Care Committee was able to "facilitate interaction between family physicians, specialists and patients to develop and implement and processes to streamline care for patients with chronic conditions... This practice has spread provincially and patient referrals to specialists no longer fall through the cracks.

So if they can do it in BC you wonder what the problem is with the rest of the country.

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