Highlights

Citizens’ Reference Panel calls for expansion of family health teams in Ontario

Twenty-eight Ontarians who have looked at the inner-workings of the province’s health system recommend more collaboration, integration and accountability to help ensure the sustainability of high-quality, accessible and publicly-funded health care. One of these recommendations states, “We urge the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to accelerate the expansion of integrated family health teams throughout the province.”

The report, released on June 22, 2011, was commissioned by PwC (formerly called PricewaterhouseCoopers). They invited 28 randomly-selected citizens from across the province to meet over three weekends in Toronto from April-June 2011. One male and one female panel member was selected from each of the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) and with the age profile matching that of the population distribution of the province. This process and their discussions were facilitated by public engagement company, MASS LBP.

Their recommendations can be summarized into five themes (below). Click here for links for the entire report and executive summary .

  1. Improve Accountability and Incentives. Link compensation for physicians to measurable patient outcomes and satisfaction, encourage health professionals to form interdisciplinary primary health teams, expand reporting in hospitals that measure quality and patient satisfaction.
  2. Strengthen Community Care. Requires strengthening of partnerships, mobilization of volunteers, creation of patient and community support groups, reduce cyclical funding constraints, prepare for an aging population with new resources for community services that keep people at home.
  3. Improve Access and Timeliness. Expand family health team models. Utilize nurse practitioners more widely in primary care clinics and emergency departments, and develop a centralized specialist referral system.
  4. Expedite eHealth and improve information-sharing. Communicate the importance of eHealth while addressing access and privacy issues.
  5. Step up Prevention and Promotion. Direct a share of alcohol and tobacco taxes towards health promotion. Expand nutrition and phys-ed in schools, more public education on active living, better food labeling.
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