Take Control Now

Nobody will argue that Canada is up against a healthcare crisis that has hit an all time high.  There was already a shortage of family doctors prior to the pandemic (nearly 5 million Canadians are without a doctor) and now, an increasing number of aging family doctors are moving up their retirement planning due to the fact that they can’t keep up with the increasing demands at a time they were hoping to slow down.   

Our Healthcare System is at a Breaking Point

Hospital ERs are at breaking points due to understaffing and over-demands placed on the already stretched staff.  Some have actually had to close. Never mind an 8 hour wait to see an emerg doctor; it can be two hours before you’re even triaged. 

Add to that the pressures of persistent pandemic waves, delayed specialist appointments, surgeries, lack of medical students going into family practice, issues with Long Term Care etc., and you’ve got the makings of a perfect storm.

I’ve read lots of opinion articles about who’s to blame and how to fix things. Most of the proposed solutions address one area without addressing others. I believe that one of the requirements is a country-wide and unified Patient Medical Record system whereby, notwithstanding privacy and permission issues accounted for, one’s medical record can be easily shared and made available across the healthcare spectrum.   

No more guesswork for pharmacists, specialists, new doctors, or emergency departments who do not have the benefit of anything more than what’s in their own silo of patient history or the patient’s own memory of their medical past. 

There’s no excuse for one of the most important sectors, healthcare, to be one of the last to have the benefit of modern technology and a standardized national system to help facilitate immediate and relevant healthcare delivery that could result in a huge reduction in errors and delays that cost lives and unnecessary additional strains on the healthcare system.

The Role of the Patient in Their Healthcare Journey 

Fact of the matter is that our healthcare system is imperfect, as are doctors. They’re human, regardless of how well they did in medical school. There are good diagnosticians, and ones that are less good. What I do find is fairly consistent across the board is the intuition of the patient to detect something that isn’t working quite right either in themselves or in a loved one. We’ve all heard stories of the person who refused to accept the family or ER doctor who said that “nothing is wrong” and insisted on further investigation, only to have their strong suspicions confirmed. 

→ Only the patient can collect their medical reports and copies from every healthcare provider they’ve seen and still see to keep it all in one place. 

→ Only the patient can ensure that the entire medical record, already collected and kept updated, can be presented anywhere, anytime. 

→ Only the patient can insist that a medical issue be further investigated and ensure that it takes place.

→ Only the patient can make the decision to go outside of what is presented as the only “insured” option, to investigate additional options they may wish to pay for (ie. not covered under their provincial medical plan). 

Canadians can no longer be passive recipients of healthcare delivery. While petitioning for change in our system is a noble thing to do, merely blaming the doctor or blaming the system for missed and misdiagnoses does nothing to ensure your safe continuous health management. 

You play a much bigger role than you think. 

→ Only you can collect your medical reports and copies from every healthcare provider

→ Only you can ensure that your entire medical record can be presented anywhere, anytime. 

→ Only you can insist that a medical issue be further investigated

→ Only you can make the decision to investigate out-of-pocket options

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