The Health Council of Canada recently released a report to update Canadians on the status of primary health care teams in the country.
Released in late April, Teams in Action: Primary Health Care Teams for Canadians is a follow-up report on a plan implemented by Canadian governments in 2004 to ensure that 50 per cent of all Canadians would receive support from health care teams by the year 2011.
The purpose of this plan was to try and ease the pressure on doctors, emergency room facilities, hospitals and clinics, by creating a system of teams to help with patient care. These teams would consist of more than one practitioner — physician, nurses, caregiver, the patient, their friends and family – working together in a support system that would extend from inside the hospital, to out in the community.
Now, with the 2011 deadline looming near, the Health Council of Canada is taking a closer look at the progress made with this project since it first began.
One of the main obstacles inhibiting the implementation of health care teams is the fact that there isn’t a central electronic health record system in place. Without an effective system in effect, different members of a health team can’t access a patient’s medical information, meaning they won’t be able to provide the best care possible.
The report also indicates that the Health Council of Canada is unable to determine how successfully primary health care teams are working thus far, as the term “team” varies across the country. There are concerns that a patient’s treatment would vary, were he or she to move from one province to another.
As the Canadian health care system prepares to deal with an aging population in addition to its other commitments, it is evident that there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered before health care teams become a reality in Canada.
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