Fam­ily Docs - Fo­cused on pa­tient re­la­tion­ships

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Prairie Opinion -

As a fam­ily physi­cian my prac­tice is about the val­ued re­la­tion­ships be­tween me and my pa­tients. I have spent my ca­reer get­ting to know each of them, and I ap­pre­ci­ate the trust they have in me. Some­times my job is to re­as­sure but more of­ten it re­quires me to di­ag­nose and co­or­di­nate care with a broad spec­trum of other spe­cial­i­ties, ser­vices and health care providers.

Fam­ily physi­cians are of­ten the first point of con­tact for pa­tients with the health care sys­tem. We work in our clin­ics, hos­pi­tals, emer­gency rooms, long-term care fa­cil­i­ties, pa­tients’ homes and re­search and ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties. As a com­mu­nity of fam­ily physi­cians, we de­liver ba­bies, sup­port our pa­tients through pal­lia­tive care and ev­ery­thing in-be­tween. We trea­sure these mo­ments and feel priv­i­leged to be in­volved in ma­jor life events. We are priv­i­leged to prac­tice fam­ily medicine in Saskatchew­an.

In ad­di­tion to all the pos­i­tives, there are also is­sues to be dealt with in pri­mary care in our prov­ince. Equal ac­cess, con­ti­nu­ity of care, and time­li­ness need to be ad­dressed through bet­ter pri­mary care sup­port sys­tems.

Pa­tient pop­u­la­tions are grow­ing and be­com­ing more com­plex. Peo­ple in ar­eas of Saskatchew­an don’t have ac­cess to a fam­ily doc­tor and don’t have the ben­e­fit of con­ti­nu­ity of care with a pri­mary care provider. This must be ad­dressed to en­sure that ev­ery per­son in Saskatchew­an has ac­cess to a fam­ily doc­tor.

Team-based care is part of the so­lu­tion for bet­ter pri­mary care. The Pa­tient’s Med­i­cal Home model of care pro­motes con­tin­u­ous, com­pre­hen­sive, pa­tient-cen­tred care led by fam­ily physi­cians and sup­ported by a team of other health care pro­fes­sion­als. By sup­port­ing our fam­ily physi­cians with a team around them, we could spend more time do­ing what we need to be do­ing - talk­ing with our pa­tients.

It is time to work to­gether to im­prove the Saskatchew­an health care sys­tem. Fam­ily physi­cians pro­vide a higher level of con­ti­nu­ity of care and are as­so­ci­ated with lower hos­pi­tal­iza­tion rates and all-cause mor­tal­ity1. The ev­i­dence is clear that fam­ily physi­cians are vi­tal to a strong pri­mary care sys­tem. We need a sys­tem that sup­ports and pro­motes bet­ter team-based ap­proaches to health care around the fam­ily physi­cian. De­spite the cur­rent bar­ri­ers, the 1,000 fam­ily physi­cians in Saskatchew­an, my­self in­cluded, spend our days pro­vid­ing the best pos­si­ble care we can for our pa­tients. By build­ing a stronger sys­tem to sup­port our im­por­tant work, we could do so much more.

The week of Nov. 12 -17 was Fam­ily Doc­tor Week in Canada. Let’s thank our Saskatchew­an fam­ily doc­tors for the amaz­ing care they pro­vide to you, your fam­i­lies, and our com­mu­ni­ties.

Dr. Mark Cameron MD CCFP FCFP Pres­i­dent

Saskatchew­an Col­lege of Fam­ily Physi­cians

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