Government, Physicians Working Together to Improve Health System Efficiency and Strengthen Primary Care
EDMONTON, ALBERTA, Sep 27, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) --
Alberta Health and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) are
collaborating on several initiatives to find efficiencies within the
health system and strengthen primary care.
"Our new agreement with the AMA is resulting in many opportunities to
build a stronger health system. By working together to find ways to
identify system efficiencies, we'll ensure to improve quality and
ensure sustainability of the health system. And as we build on the
successes of Primary Care Networks (PCNs), Albertans will have
greater access to the health services they need."
Fred Horne, Minister of Health
"I think that the patients of Alberta can be happy that we are moving
to implement this agreement between physicians and government. We
have some goals that can really make a difference for patients, with
more efficient care that gives them a chance to have a voice and make
good decisions. I'm also excited about building on the strong
foundation of our outstanding Primary Care Networks so every Albertan
has a home in the health care system.
Dr. Michael Giuffre, President, Alberta Medical Association
As part of the new seven year agreement with physicians, Alberta
Health and the AMA have agreed to work together to find efficiencies
and optimize value for money within the health system.
One initiative will be to focus on appropriateness of care and to
initiate an Alberta 'Choosing Wisely program. "Choosing Wisely" is a
well-regarded program which originated in the United States and is
now being adapted in Canada. The program involves a provider-led
identification of tests and treatments that physicians and patients
should question before initiating, where there is potential for
overuse, waste or even harm to patients.
Alberta is in a good position to support uptake and implementation of
the Choosing Wisely Program recommendations through existing AMA
quality programs (such as the Toward Optimized Practice (TOP) Program
and the Physician Learning Program (PLP)) and with strategic clinical
Some early areas for focus will target the appropriate use of MRI
(magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computerized tomography) scans.
In the area of primary care Alberta will continue to strengthen the
Primary Care Network program.
Earlier this year the Minister of Health had requested the Primary
Care Alliance of the Alberta Medical Association to identify
opportunities to build on the successes of the PCN program and
identify improvements. There will be ongoing work on the evolution of
the PCN program but some immediate actions which have been identified
by primary care leaders as priorities are to:
-- Inform Albertans who are part of a PCN directly what services are
available, including locations and times of after-hour clinics.
-- Accelerate efforts with PCNs to provide a formal home in the health
system for Albertans.
-- Enhance access for Albertans through increased availability of same-day
or next day appointments and better access to after-hours care.
-- Improve coordination between primary care and social services for those
patients that need it.
Alberta Medical Association
Director, Public Affairs
SOURCE: Alberta Medical Association and Alberta Health
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