Over the past nine months, I have been incredibly impressed with the desire of our front-line physicians to improve the care Albertans receive.
Physicians are learning more about their practice from resources like MD Snapshot and are striving for quality improvement. PCNs are looking at quality indicators to improve practice; Emergency physicians are tracking key performance indicators for quality and patient safety; Strategic Clinical Networks are developing best-practice pathways; Choosing Wisely Alberta and Alberta Health Services have identified multiple areas where providing more appropriate care can improve patient outcomes and control costs; and the Health Quality Council of Alberta is providing every Family Physician in Alberta with data to inform them where they are doing well and where there is room for improvement. At the most recent Alberta Medical Association Rep Forum, I saw incredible physician leaders focused on improving health care for all Albertans.
With this kind of organic, grass-roots engagement from physicians in Alberta, I’m excited about the possibilities of Alberta leading a quality-of-care revolution in Canada. Physicians recognize that we can’t improve by just doing things the way we’ve done them before. They know patients can get better care for the money we spend on the healthcare system.
Last month, I wrote about why we need a complaint process. Complaints are a necessary reality in our profession; they help keep us accountable to our patients and help us improve as a profession. Unfortunately, sometimes discipline is necessary too. When reading about discipline decisions, such as those in this month’s Messenger, it’s easy to focus on the negative. Instead, I urge all of you to look to all the examples around you to see that the vast majority of physicians are working hard every day to provide excellent patient care.
We cannot and should not, create a system that focuses on the few. We must embrace the desire that exists in the majority to improve health care – and that’s what we’re going to do. The CPSA will continue to take its role in addressing complaints seriously, but we know the greatest return on investment comes from working with all physicians to improve care through continuous quality improvement.
As always, I look forward to your comments.