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Personalizing care is key to Canada’s healthcare system survival

Personalizing care is key to Canada’s healthcare system survival

If Canadians want to preserve their healthcare system for the future, health providers need to start looking to patients as partners in their care as opposed to mere recipients believes Dr. Anne Snowdon, Professor and Chair of the International Centre for Health Innovation at Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business.

Speaking at the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy’s recent 2014 Innovation Gala in Toronto, Dr. Snowdon outlined some key steps needed to achieve a more personalized approach to healthcare, given that the research is proving we value quality of life, health and wellness above anything else.

“There’s been a significant move to an empowered patient and things have shifted from blind trust to earned trust,” she said. “We are so structured to make decisions for people instead of with them but patients are coming in expecting to negotiate a partnership.”

Key to building this partnership with patients is realizing that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and that people aren’t defined by their diagnosis, said Dr. Snowdon. “We need to deliver best practice guidelines in new and different ways to achieve value for people,” she says. “It’s about building relationships and understanding what makes [people] tick so we can leverage that to make them healthier.”

Collaboration among providers is another key factor to making the system work. Instead of figuring out whose scope of practice it is, Dr. Snowdon urged healthcare providers in the audience to determine how to bring together their unique skillsets to get the best patient outcomes. “I see tremendous opportunity to find synergies between our skills,” she said.

She also urged pharmacy, in particular, to seize untapped opportunities for better connecting with patients. She pointed to research that shows patients are often coming to their pharmacists to gauge the abilities of their physicians. “Because of your drive for accuracy, pharmacy is an emergency surveillance system and a trusted profession,” she said. “I would suggest that’s an interesting space that only pharmacy occupies..and a very important opportunity.”

Dr. Snowdown emphasized the need to “get connected” by learning from other industries. “We can shop, take courses, do our banking and book a flight to Bejing online,” she said. “If Facebook connected the world, why can’t we take that technology and connect to our healthcare providers?”

“People need access to their health information to make informed decisions with their providers,” she said.

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