Last fall, the Deputy Minister of Health, Carl G. Amrhein, asked the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) to do an assessment and report on what progress had been on the recommendations in the original Continuity of Patient Care report. The report which was primarily on what happened in the health system prior to Greg’s death. Yesterday the HQCA released the report titled Improving Continuity of Care: Key opportunities and a status report on recommendations from the 2013 Continuity of Patient Care Study.
Today we are going to share some quotes and excerpts from this new report. In addition we are also going take some time to digest its content and we will provide our comments over the coming weeks.
The report outlines three types of continuity of care that resonate with us:
Relationship continuity can be viewed as the ongoing therapeutic relationship between a single healthcare provider (or a small team of healthcare providers) and a patient; it fosters improved communication trust and a sense of responsibility.
Management continuity refers to the communication of facts and opinions across team, institutional and professional boundaries and between providers and patients. When done well it enables everyone involved with a patient’s care to have a shared understanding of the goals and the plan to achieve them.
Information continuity is the availability and use of information on past events and personal circumstances to support appropriate care for an individual patient.
We agree with Dr. Tony Fields, HQCA Board Chair’s statement in the foreword of the report “A steady hand and commitment to a focused path can bring Alberta’s healthcare system to a state in which continuity of patient care is supported and enabled.” This an absolute necessity to have in place.
Additionally, the report contains content that is relevant to our three priorities and we will share our thoughts on this soon.
Though we are disappointed but not surprised by lack of progress on some recommendations we are hopeful the next steps will include giving the Health Quality Network (HQN) the responsibility to monitor and the accountability for ensuring significant progress is achieved as quickly as possible. Having key stakeholder decision makers at the same table will enable critical further progress and has potential to break down some of the on-going barriers that have been identified.