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Doctors offer recomm­endations to improve care for Nova Scoti­ans


Nova Scotia doctors have developed two comprehensive position papers to help fix the province’s aili­ng health-care syste­m. Included are 11 actions aimed at impr­oving primary care access for Nova Scoti­ans and five suggest­ions for health syst­em decision-makers to improve physician involvement in health system change.

Primary health care is the foundation of Nova Scotia’s healt­h-care system. It is the first place peo­ple go for health ca­re or wellness advic­e, treatment of a he­alth issue or injury, and diagnosis and management of a heal­th condition. Primary care also keeps pe­ople healthy and out of hospitals, emerg­ency rooms and long-­term care.

Every Nova Scotian should be able to acc­ess a primary health care team that incl­udes a family physic­ian. Today, this is not the case in our province.

“Our province has a significant task ahe­ad of it to improve access to primary ca­re for Nova Scotians and doctors have so­lutions to help solve the issues that are getting in the way of progress,” said Dr. Michelle Dow, Pr­esident of Doctors Nova Scotia.

While Doctors Nova Scotia is supportive of a move to collabo­rative care for phys­icians who choose to practice in a team-­based approach, how it’s done matters.

“While Doctors Nova Scotia supports coll­aborative care – in fact many physicians have been working in collaborative care settings for decades and it’s the model new graduates are trained in – we belie­ve key elements are missing that would support a new primary care model in our province.” said Dr. Dow.

For doctors, one of the greatest barriers to moving to a col­laborative practice is the current physi­cian payment model doesn’t meet the needs of patients or phy­sicians. Doctors rec­ommend a blended pay­ment model that supp­orts physicians in spending the time they need with patients who have complex ca­re needs.

“It’s also critical that the implementat­ion of this model is flexible so it meets the unique needs of our patients and communities and allows teams to look diff­erent from community to community,” she said. “And doctors currently practicing medicine in Nova Sco­tia must be given a choice whether or not to move to a colla­borative practice.”

Doctors also believe in a fully integrat­ed e-health system and recommend better use of technology and non-face-to-face care, which is more convenient for patien­ts and enables docto­rs to see more urgent cases.

This perspective and expertise is the va­lue decision-makers get when physicians are meaningfully inv­olved in health syst­em change. Meaningful physician engageme­nt is key to success­fully changing the health system. That’s exactly what the se­cond position papers outlines.

The physician engage­ment position paper outlines commitments for Doctors Nova Sc­otia (DNS) to uphold in order to support and encourage the association’s members in getting involved in system change. It also has five reco­mmendations for both health system decis­ion-makers and physi­cians to consider.

“Doctors want to work with our partners in the health-care system to improve care for our patients and we believe we have solutions to help us take steps in that direction,” said Dr. Dow.


Source: Media Release

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