The QMA at work for patients
On November 6, at the invitation of the Centre d’assistance et d’accompagnement aux plaintes (CAAP) - Montérégie, Dr. Hugo Viens spoke about the QMA’s opinion on the healthcare system’s responsibility for placing the patient at the centre of the decision-making process.
Dr. Viens reminded the audience of some one hundred people about the importance of the QMA’s mission and its willingness to support physicians who are committed to improving the system and, by extension, patient care.
“At the QMA, we believe that, in addition to their individual responsibility toward their patients, physicians have a collective responsibility to make sure the healthcare system works better and that we improve the health of the population,” stated Dr. Viens.
The president spoke to audience members about several concrete solutions that the QMA is helping to implement. Reducing the incidence of over-diagnosis and over-medicalization has effects on the access to and quality of care that patients receive. Dr. Viens also explained that, while physicians and patients can certainly do their share to reduce the scope of over-diagnosis and over-treatment, there are also systemic and cultural factors at play in these issues.
Physicians and patients would therefore benefit from investigating tools such as Choosing Wisely Canada, which promotes informed joint decision-making.
“To make sure medical care is more relevant, the system absolutely needs to be more focused on the patient’s needs,” Dr. Viens continued, explaining why it’s essential that we start rethinking the care trajectory within larger teams. All healthcare professionals on a team have their own role to play, but we need to give them the means to work together. It’s a waste of time if they’re all doing the same thing, just in a different way. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done to improve this, but we’re already seeing a change in culture within our organizations.
And if we want healthcare professionals to work with patients as a team, the service structures and financing mechanisms will have to be adapted accordingly. This means we will need to refocus financing and care on the patients. “The only way to effect change is to address the problems with the system,” explained Dr. Viens. “And, of course, physicians have an important role to play in all this through their leadership positions.”
The president then touched on the importance of innovation, reminding audience members that if we want to improve population health, we need to think outside the box and be open to new ways of doing things. This could mean adapted access at the organizational level, or new tools such as the Québec Health Booklet, the CRDS, and electronic medical records.
In conclusion, what patients need is a system that allows them to be treated by a team, in which the healthcare professionals caring for them have the tools they need to provide a continuum of care—care that’s necessary and appropriate to the patients’ personal situation and that they have chosen themselves, in consultation with their physician and healthcare team, as part of a joint decision-making process.