CHANGING QUEBEC’S HEALTH CARE LANDSCAPE
Coordinating care can be challenging because different health care providers often deliver it in different locations. This means important pieces of your health information may not be available to all of your providers. But there is a solution and it lies with people like Dr. Julien Quinty and Annie Descoteaux, who are trying to innovate Quebec’s health system with the help of digital tools. A family doctor and a Faculty of Medicine professor at the University of Laval, Dr. Quinty has been instrumental in creating the Forum d’évolution via les pairs (FEP) — a peer network — with Canada Health Infoway. Peer networks provide a forum where individuals work with their peers to promote the adoption and use of digital health solutions.
"The focus of FEP is to work with stakeholders, health care providers and patients from the ground up to improve health systems and the health of populations through the use of digital health tools,” says Dr. Quinty. “I think there is real added value in getting patients to participate in their own health care and in order for the patient to be more active, we need to use the right tools."
LEVERAGING PATIENT PARTNERSHIPS
Ms. Descoteaux, a Strategic Advisor with the Centre of Excellence on Partnership with Patients and the Public (CEPPP), and a Manager with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montreal, shares a similar passion with Dr. Quinty for transforming Quebec’s health system. She believes patient engagement at all levels is essential to improving coordination within the health system.
“My role [with the university] is to bring patient expertise into the academic curriculum for students who aspire to become health professionals and to ensure that patients are integrated into inter-professional collaboration and partnership training programs,” says Ms. Descoteaux. “Similarly, with the CEPPP, I support the integration and implementation of patients as partners.”
CEPPP has been a global pioneer in building patient partnerships. They have assembled a network of partnership experts, a laboratory and a school and work to develop new practices that focus on continued dialogue and the sharing of knowledge to improve the patient experience and effectiveness of health care.
In addition, CEPPP established the Quebec Health Booklet, which demonstrates how to create a patient-centric model where the patient feels secure and empowered.
“The Quebec Health Booklet is used to help Quebecers access their own health data, like radiology results,” she says. “Members and patient partners that have been recruited by CEPPP have also helped to develop the content for the booklet.”
While Ms. Descoteaux sees that the health system in Quebec is robust, she also recognizes there is always room for improvement, which she hopes to continue to pursue through the work of CEPPP. This means expanding the current range of medical research opportunities to ensure they address actual health issues affecting Quebecers.
“We need to integrate patients into our research decisions and designs,” says Ms. Descoteaux. “That way, we will be able to transform our health organizations and help our current health system to better respond to the aging population and the increase in chronic diseases.”
SETTING THE STAGE FOR TOMORROW
Digital health initiatives in Quebec, like those led by people like Dr. Quinty and Ms. Descoteaux, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s needed to create the Canadian health system of tomorrow.
By joining the ACCESS 2022 movement, the goal is to make this vision a reality.
“ACCESS 2022 is a movement that brings together people like myself, who are passionate about changing the health system through digital health,” says Dr. Quinty. “For me, it’s about having modern information systems, electronic medical records, integrated pharmacy systems, as well as computerized clinical and hospital records. It’s about systems that speak the same language along the continuum of care.”