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Monday, October 25, 2010

Delegates from the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan Met with us Today

Carolyn Young, Communications Dept., Health Council of Canada

Delegates from the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan met with the Health Council of Canada today to discuss Canada’s health care system and examine challenges and successes in both countries.

This is the third consultation of a Kazakh delegation with the Health Council, and the discussion has always proven valuable and constructive.

The groups discussed Canada’s challenges with wait times and affordability of health care. Kathryn MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer, and Shirley Hawkins, Director, Stakeholder and Government Relations, spoke on health care financing and outlined Canada’s spending figures, breaking down what current public funding achieves. For the Kazakh delegates, a particular area of interest was maternal and child health data in Canada, and in attendance was the Kazakh chief expert of mother child care. Maternal and child health care are major priorities in Kazakhstan and the groups discussed some of the Canadian history in these areas, with further context provided on the Health Council’s upcoming work specifically in the area of Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health.

Other challenges facing the Kazakh health care system that were discussed include improving both education and healthcare by means of legislation, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through health promotion and disease prevention.

Since their arrival in Ontario on October 17, the delegates have met with numerous Canadian health organizations across the province, starting in Ottawa and making their way to Toronto to conclude their trip.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Ontario Pharmacists’ Association comments on Council's 'Decisions, Decisions'

This letter is from Mr. Dennis Darby, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association in response to Decisions, Decisions: Family Doctors as Gatekeepers to Prescription Drugs and Diagnostic Imaging in Canada . We invite you to comment here in the blogspace. 

Family physicians need greater access to decision-support tools such as electronic medical records, a drug information system and electronic prescribing. Pharmacists need these tools too, but in the meantime, there is much they can do to help.

It’s a daunting task for any doctor to stay on top of the latest research about prescription drugs. Expert advice on medication is just one way pharmacists, and the drug information and research centre at the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, can help. 

As the experts in medication and its management, pharmacists are key players on the health-care team, working closely with physicians and other health-care providers to ensure drugs are prescribed and used effectively. Through Bill 179, the Ontario government has acknowledged the tremendous value of pharmacists as medication experts by expanding their scope of practice. This new legislation is in keeping with the national trend toward more collaborative and interdisciplinary care.

Once this collaborative model takes greater hold, we will see profound changes in how medications are prescribed, used and monitored, by a more efficient and effective healthcare team that capitalizes on the expertise of its various professionals. 

Electronic health records, a drug information system and electronic prescribing will facilitate much of this work, and we must all push hard to make it happen.

--Mr. Darby’s comments in this blog are reproduced with permission from the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association. His letter previously appeared in several newspapers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kazakh Delegation Visits, Speaks to CEO About Health Care Systems and On-going Reform

Yeena Peng and Terry Glecoff

Joined by the Deputy Minister of Health, a delegation from the Republic of Kazakhstan met with the Health Council of Canada yesterday to discuss our country’s health care system.

The group shared information and ideas about the funding of Canada’s system, infrastructure planning, information technology in health care, Canada’s public health initiatives, and payment mechanisms. The visitors discussed some of the challenges facing their country that include better reimbursement methods to providers and developing multi-disciplinary teams of health care professionals. John G. Abbott, Health Council CEO, highlighted Canada’s critical need for the establishment of electronic medical and health information systems. 

The conversation saw the groups agree on the need to develop new standards focusing on prevention for both countries. Like Canada, Kazakhstan’s health care leaders need to continue to explore ways to effectively reform their existing system to ensure sustainability. The groups agree that governments and health authorities must support system change through better engagement of citizens, patients and health care providers.