The QMA and the AQESSS are joining forces to eliminate overdiagnosis in the health care system

Montréal, October 31, 2014 - The Québec Medical Association (QMA) and the Association québécoise d’établissements de santé et de services sociaux (AQESSS) are calling on physicians and health institutions to work together to address the problem of overdiagnosis in the health care system. At a press conference this morning, the AQESSS pledged to actively support the QMA in the efforts it has been making for the past two years to tackle this issue by increasing member awareness of this major problem for the health care system and by promoting the Choisir avec soin campaign, which is the French component of Choosing Wisely Canada. This announcement follows on the heels of a second wave of recommendations made public on October 29.

Because it shares the QMA’s desire to propose solutions and mobilize health care stakeholders to take actions that will benefit the Québec health care system, the AQESSS announced, among other things, that it will encourage member institutions to develop training and awareness projects to address overdiagnosis. It will also disseminate the recommendations prescribed by the Choisir avec soin campaign throughout the system in order to encourage discussion between physicians and patients on the appropriateness of tests and procedures.

“The movement to promote awareness of overdiagnosis is growing,” stated QMA Executive Director Normand Laberge. “Local initiatives are appearing in some Québec regions, including Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Gatineau where physicians have formed appropriateness committees. A physician at the Sherbrooke university hospital centre is also bringing attention to the issue within his environment. Groups are taking ownership of the project and being innovative. We are pleased that the Minister of Health and Social Services made a commitment in the parliamentary commission to consider exercising leadership. But we should not lose sight of the fact that eliminating overdiagnosis begins with local initiatives.”

“An awareness campaign like Choisir avec soin could serve as a model for Québec,” stated AQESSS Executive Director Diane Lavallée. “Our association supports the QMA in its efforts to optimize clinical practice and find solutions to counter overdiagnosis because it believes that real gains can be achieved with this approach, especially in terms of improved access for patients. In this sense, the AQESSS commits to actively contributing to the awareness campaign among its members.”

Bill 10 proposes major changes to the structure of the health care system so as to achieve $220 million in savings over three years to meet budget constraints. “By tackling overdiagnosis, potentially $3 to $5 million could be saved annually and invested more effectively in order to increase accessibility and offer more appropriate care,” concluded Normand Laberge.

About the QMA and AQESSS

The Québec Medical Association is made up of close to 10,000 general practitioners, specialists, residents and medical students. Its mission is to bring together members of the Québec medical community in a context that promotes reflection and action in the best interests of the population.

The Association québécoise d’établissements de santé et de services sociaux has 125 members, representing the 92 health and social service centres (CSSSs), university hospitals, affiliated hospitals, university institutes and other institutions and long-term care facilities with a single vocation. The mission of the AQESSS is to bring together, represent and support its members by acting as a leader and key player to ensure the quality of services and the sustainability of the health and social services network.

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Denise Pelletier
Communications Coordinator
Québec Medical Association
Tel.: 514 567-1501

Charlotte Lauzon
Information Officer
Association québécoise d’établissements de santé et de services sociaux
Tel.: 514 282-4219