Our regular column author, Lucy Bonanno, has taken a break from writing this edition of Management’s Corner, but hopefully she’ll be back with the Winter edition of RTSO Airwaves!  ~Shawna

The Federal Election, OHTs and the Future of Healthcare

With the upcoming federal election, healthcare is a top concern for many Canadians.  We know our healthcare is not “free” in this country.  In fact, according to Palacios & Barua (2019), “the estimated average payment for public health care insurance ranges from $3,833 (single parent, 2 children with average income of $68,858) to $13,311 (2 parents, 2 children with average family income of $140,049)”.  This estimated cost does not factor in additional health care costs through private insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses (Goldstein, 2019).  What will this election bring?

As Sue Jones mentions in her President’s Update, we are currently navigating through a changing healthcare landscape.  Indeed, when are we not?  We’ve heard that Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) are positioned to become the new norm, providing a new and coordinated way of “organizing and delivering services in local communities”, breaking down the “siloed current state”, as outlined in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) image, below (MOHLTC, 2019).

However, these OHTs cannot go it alone, and must rapidly learn, adapt, and continuously improve in order to optimize “the care experiences and health outcomes” for populations in their community (McMaster Health Forum, 2019).  There are a number of ways Respiratory Therapists can involve themselves with OHT teams, particularly around the “building blocks” and their respective domains, raising awareness of our role and educating on the RT scope of practice that can assist patients transitioning from acute care to community care.  Examples include advocating for patient access to RT services in different health sectors and categories of treatments; professional engagement on advisory councils; supporting patient-centric health literacy, disease self-management planning and supports; health promotion and disease prevention initiatives, and more (McMaster Health Forum, 2019).

What does the current healthcare data indicate, and where can we find it?  The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI, 2019a) “provides comparable and actionable data and information that are used to accelerate improvements in health care, health system performance and population health across Canada”. Issues are broken down into relatable themes, such as: access and wait times, health equity, healthcare spending, systems performance, patient experience, community care, mental health and addictions, seniors and aging, and several others (CIHI, 2019b).  We can also look to Health Quality Ontario (HQO, n.d.), the province’s advisor on health care quality.  HQO is committed to supporting the development of a quality health care system based on six fundamental dimensions: efficient, timely, safe, effective, patient-centred and equitable, through a legislative mandate (HQO, n.d.).

Like CIHI and HQO, Respiratory Therapists need to be in tune with the healthcare system, the evolving needs of those we serve, current evidence and best practices, and we must participate in continuous quality improvement.  To do this, we need a profession that is fully aware and highly engaged! As these transformations continue to modernize and improve the healthcare system, you can be sure that the RTSO has your best interests at heart and is working diligently to ensure Respiratory Therapists are at the forefront in the patient care vision of Ontario’s healthcare future.  Be sure to read the updates and reports in this issue to see the great work we are doing on your behalf!  The RTSO is your voice.  Now, more than ever before, we need your membership and involvement, to ensure our great work can continue!  Your province.  Your profession.  Your voice.  Together, let’s be #RTStrOng

References

Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). (2019a). About CIHI.
Retrieved from https://www.cihi.ca/en/about-cihi

Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). (2019b).  Access data and reports: Themes.
Retrieved from https://www.cihi.ca/en/access-data-and-reports

Goldstein, L. (2019, August 08).  GOLDSTEIN:  Canadian health-care expense and mediocre.  The Toronto Sun.
Retrieved from https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/goldstein-canadian-health-care-expensive-and-mediocre

Health Quality Ontario. (n.d.) About us.
Retrieved from https://www.hqontario.ca/about-us/who-we-are

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) (2019, August 23).  Become an Ontario health team.
Retrieved from http://health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/connectedcare/oht/

Palacios, M. & Barua, B. (2019, August 08). The price of public health care insurance, 2019.  The Fraser Institute.
Retrieved from https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/price-of-public-health-care-insurance-2019-edition & https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/price-of-public-health-care-insurance-2019.pdf

McMaster Health Forum (2019).  Rapid-improvement support and exchange (RISE).
Retrieved from https://www.mcmasterforum.org/rise?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5tOF1pb-5AIVFBx9Ch0-WAaNEAAYASAAEgLFY_D_BwE