July 2015

Hello again - I hope everyone is enjoying summer now that we are in the heart of our warmest months here in HNHB LHIN. For many of you it’s a time of year to relax and recharge from whatever your day-to-day work may be and it’s a time when you may try to get in as many things as possible. To do this you need to choose wisely how you will use one of your most valued resources – your free time.

As we continue to focus on evolving the health care system in Ontario, one of the most critical parts of our job as system planners is asking questions. Questions such as how can we get the best value and best care for our patients and families? What need does a program or unit of care fulfill? Is there a better way of doing what we are doing to address those needs and give more to those patients and their caregivers? These are questions that everyone should think about whether they are a patient, family member, care system planner or health service provider and it’s important that we come back to these and other questions as a form of reflection and self-evaluation when looking to dramatically improve the care we provide.

Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) is fostering this line of thinking. CWC, organized by Dr. Wendy Levinson in partnership

Choosing Wisely Canada

 with the Canadian Medical Association, looks to engage patients and physicians in conversations about tests, treatments and procedures that might not always be applicable or add value to the care that person should be receiving.

CWC wants to help physicians and patients make smart and effective choices when it comes to receiving high-quality care and its doing so by educating everyone through recommendations on procedures that both the patient and physician should question. To date 151 recommendations have been released by CWC. Choosing Wisely Canada teaches us that by eliminating unnecessary testing we can reduce unnecessary risks to patients, enable proper treatment more and thus ensure better health outcomes for those patients.

Choosing Wisely Canada began right here in Ontario and in a little over a year has quickly been adopted by all medical associations representing Canada’s provinces and territories.

I highly recommend that you look over the patient-related materials  created by CWC and have a conversation with your physician about how this impacts your care. Not every test is relevant for every patient - we all have unique situations and individual needs – so it is important that when the time for testing does come that you can chat openly with your care providers about what’s right for you.

There are many more resources available including a new free app for smart phones and tablets through both the Google Play and Apple stores.

As the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign continues, the LHIN will highlight recommendations received from CWC and share patient stories as families go through the dialogue process with their physicians. We all have choices to make for our health journey and the best care and value comes from making use of the incredible information that is shared by our health service experts.

If you or your organization would like to be featured in a future blog or share a patient story in one of our Voices in the Community videos you can reach us through our office, or if you’re on social media via our Twitter handle - @HNHB_LHINgage. Your feedback and questions are always welcome! Have a terrific day!

P.S. On July 7 the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced that it would be appointing its first Patient Ombudsman. The Patient Ombudsman will help people when they are not satisfied with how their concerns have been handled by a hospital, long-term care home or community care access centre. People are being asked to identify the skills, experience and personality traits they would value most in a Patient Ombudsman. You can find more information on our website about the Patient Ombudsman recruitment process and provide your feedback.