A message from the Alberta Medical Association President

Dear albertapatients member:

With this month's newsletter, we bring you part two of the survey results in which you and your fellow albertapatients members weigh in on causes of (and concerns about) waiting for health care. I am always fascinated by the insights you provide. Your perspective has a much more real-patient, real-person focus than what is often seen in surveys about health care.

The results tell us what you think are the causes of waiting for care. You also give us your perspective on the comparative value of access to a physician vs. time with a physician. (Ideally, the system should give you both, but knowing what matters helps us to make plans in that direction.)

In addition to waiting for care, there are two topics that albertapatients members asked to discuss in this first half of 2016. First is seniors' care in our aging society, the effectiveness of the current system for individuals and families, and possible solutions for the future. The second topic is the emergency department (ED): How are we using the ED? Why do patients wait there? How does triage work? What are the solutions for improvement?

We'd love to know which of these two topics you'd like to discuss next!

Seniors' care

 OREmergency department

To indicate your choice, please click one of the links above before May 13, 2016.

Kind regards,

Carl W. Nohr, MDCM, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

P.S. Next month, we will bring you some new survey results on a topic that the community asked to explore: Physician Assisted Death. I think you'll find the results very interesting and enlightening, so watch for your May newsletter!

News from albertapatients.ca

Recently, we asked albertapatients members about their experiences with waiting for health care in Alberta. We provided some highlights from the first half of that survey in our previous newsletter (now available on albertapatients.ca), and results from the second half are featured in the Did You Know section, below.

We also drew our March sweepstakes winners. (As you may already know, we hold monthly sweepstakes draws for five prizes of $200. All albertapatients members are automatically entered into each monthly draw, and every time you complete a survey, your member ID number gets an extra entry – an extra chance to win!)

Our March winners are:

Fran M.
Helen I.
Debbie C.
Colette O.
Heather F.

Red Deer

Care to be an albertapatients ambassador?
albertapatients is a growing community and we would like to welcome (many!) more Albertans. Would you like to be an ambassador? We’ve provided some tools to make sharing easy:


• Simply log in to our website at http://www.albertapatients.ca/, look for the Refer a Friend box on the right side of your screen, and click the “More Info” link to tell others about us through email or on social media.

• Email support@albertapatients.ca and provide your name and mailing address, and we will send you a small pad of albertapatients.ca tear-off sheets to give to your family and friends. (You may have received one yourself from your doctor’s office.)

Wait times: Patient views on causes, solutions, and priorities. Did you know?

Patients feel that wait times are driven by a combination of factors.
Generally speaking, patients agree that volume is the biggest cause of medical wait times in Alberta – too many patients and not enough doctors to care for them (64%) – but they also believe that the system could be more efficient in terms of coordination and communication, and spending could be more effectively addressing waits.​ When asked to suggest other factors contributing to wait times, 12% of respondents expressed concern about system abuse and a lack of patient education/prevention.

Improving communication between care providers is the most strongly supported approach to reduce medical wait times.
More than 9 in 10 patients support improving communication as an approach to reduce wait times in Alberta, followed closely by updating processes and record keeping systems (87% approval). There is also strong support for funding more treatment beds/operating rooms and equipment (83% and 82% approval, respectively) and hiring more family doctors, nurses/nurse practitioners and specialists/surgeons (84%, 81% and 80% approval, respectively). When asked for other approaches to reduce wait times, 11% of respondents suggested improving the efficiency of clinic and facility booking systems.

Timely access is the priority for a majority of patients.
When asked to prioritize timely access vs. time spent with a physician, over half of Alberta patients say that getting an appointment as quickly as possible is the priority for them, even if that appointment only lasts a few minutes. Meanwhile, 31% say they would like to be able to spend more time with their doctor, even if that meant it might take longer to get the appointment. 17% were unsure and many noted that their preference would be influenced by the nature of the health concern requiring treatment.

Read the full report (opens in a new browser window).

Closing comments

If you would like to make comments, share feedback, or suggest an area for further research, please Let Us Know.

Thank you for being a member of the community!

Do you have a question you'd like us to ask in a survey or a topic you'd like us to discuss?
Please share it with us! 

523 21 Ave. S.W. | Calgary, AB | T2S 0G9 | support@albertapatients.ca

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