Ontario healthcare musings

I just came back from an event with Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews. It was a great event with a Q&A format, that encouraged some discussion. Here are some musings about Ontario’s health care system:

  • There is a great organization called Rise Asset Managment that helps people with mental health issues get mentoring and start new businesses.
  • Minister Matthews plan of the “right care at the right time in the right place” is a simple way of stating a very complex issue. It is the right plan.
  • There are great initiatives being embarked upon by healthcare providers around the issue of engaging patients. Some of the stories and impacts were amazing.
  • Most providers are recognizing the need to bring patients into major decisions, including the construction of new buildings and department layouts.
  • Industry suppliers are being left out of the conversation somewhat. We need to find a way to leverage their experiences in other provinces and organizations, without affording an advantage when trying to win business. Is that even possible or desirable?
  • We have finally passed the tipping point and realized that healthcare needs to adopt some basic business principles. Dealing with patient issues well creates more loyalty and a better experience. Asking the customer (patient) to be engaged in strategic decisions improves performance. Looking at new innovations can save lives. Reviewing internal operations can increase effectiveness. Aligning strategy and tactics and communicating that effectively improves performance. It’s all about operational excellence.
  • We have patient navigators at some hospitals, but who will navigate the patient through their whole spectrum of care, both inside and outside the hospital? If the answer is the patient, then let’s develop tools to help patients do that.
  • Communication can be a big issue for patients who don’t speak English or French. Why doesn’t every hospital have translators on site or available, either through a central service or through volunteers?