A message from the Alberta Medical Association President
June 2019

Dear albertapatients member,

Happy Canada Day weekend everyone!

The school year is ending and the summer lies ahead.  As you think about your plans for the next few months, I wanted you to know how much I've enjoyed reviewing the work you've done - and the input you've provided - to the AMA over the past six months.

After all, we created albertapatients.ca so that Alberta doctors could have a way to discuss what matters to patients, directly with Albertans on a large scale.  The information that albertapatients members have provided through surveys has been shared over the years with our Board and also with partners in the health care system including government, Alberta Health Services, the Health Quality Council of Alberta and others.

In the most recent survey, for which you will find results below, we asked you about two important public health issues: organ donation and water fluoridation.  The AMA's governing body, the Representative Forum, passed resolutions at our spring meeting calling on the association to engage in advocacy on these topics.  So, we turned to you to give us insight on the patient perspective and your answers will help the Board to determine what the AMA should do and say next.

In terms of organ donation, we can advise government and Alberta Health Services about the kind of information Albertans need to increase organ donation rates.  In terms of water fluoridation, the AMA will be presenting to Calgary City Council to share the survey results in support of the recommendations from Alberta doctors that fluoridation recommence in the city. There is clinical evidence that fluoride is important and now these survey results will show how members of the public feel about the issue.

These are just two examples of ways in which your participation in albertapatients is making a difference for the AMA and the health care system.  Thank you!  As I write this, the community is 9,200 members strong, and we have 10,000 in our sights for the year ahead - so be sure to invite your friends and family to join.  Together, we can bring good medicine to Alberta's health care system.

Warm regards,

Alison M. Clarke, MD, CCFP, FCFP
News from albertapatients.ca

In May, we asked albertapatients members about their recent primary care experiences, and their views on organ/tissue donation and water fluoridation.  Please read on to the Did you Know section (below) for highlights from that research and a link to the full report.

We also drew our latest 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!)

The latest winners include:

Linda K
Mandy H
Carolyn L
Janet K
Sheila E
Shannon N
Christina D
Cheryle J
June A
Amanda M
Peggy R
Debbie K
Prescilla G
Alix A
Alex I

Grande Prairie
Parkland County

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:

• 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 on social media.

• Visit http://www.albertadoctors.org/aprefer to request an email with information about albertapatients.ca that you can forward to your contact list.

• 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.)
Did you know?
Organ & Tissue Donation

Alberta patients are strong advocates of organ and tissue donation, however incidence of donor registration is quite low.  This is driven by a lack of awareness and call to action, and confusion about the process of becoming a donor.

  • Only 10% of patients say they are unlikely to become organ donors following their death, with most of these citing pre-existing medical conditions that would likely preclude them or personal/religious beliefs
  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) say they are at least somewhat likely to become an organ donor, driven by a desire to help others and a practical notion of "not needing them anymore"
  • Over 1-in-5 Alberta patients report that they have made arrangements to become organ or tissue donors upon their deaths, however only 31% of this group (7% of total patient population) report actually signing up as a donor through the provincial website

Awareness of the provincial organ/tissue donor registration site is modest – 56% of Alberta patients say they have heard something about it.  However, 59% of those who believe they already are organ donors say they are not aware of the site, along with 40% of those who say they would likely become organ donors.

For albertapatients.ca members who are interested in becoming an organ or tissue donor, the URL for the provincial registry is: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/pages/otdrhome.aspx 

Among patients in Alberta, there is strong support for an “active decline” approach to organ and tissue donation, similar to the system approved in Nova Scotia (i.e. all adults at the time of their death would be considered for organ/tissue donation UNLESS they have registered online indicating they do not want to donate).

  • Only 1-in-5 patients disapprove of an “active decline” approach, driven primarily by sentiments that it should be an active decision, concerns about forgetting or not knowing to opt out, etc.

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

An Important New Initiative to Better Understand Children’s Mental Health

While albertapatients surveys and discussions are primarily between community members and the AMA, every so often we come across an opportunity for you to interact with one of our system partners in something that we think you may value. 

Are you the parent or guardian of a child experiencing mental health challenges? Do you currently reside in Grande Prairie, St. Albert, Red Deer, Airdrie or Lethbridge?  If so, our partners at the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) would like to learn from your experiences!

In partnership with Alberta Health, the HQCA has recently launched a survey to help them understand parent and guardian experiences with the flow of their child’s mental healthcare journey in five Alberta communities: Grande Prairie, St. Albert, Red Deer, Airdrie and Lethbridge.  
The survey will be open at the end of July 2019.  The survey link and detailed information about this project, including a Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions document, can be found on the HQCA website: www.hqca.ca/mentalhealth 

You can make a real difference in the mental healthcare of your child by participating and sharing your experiences with them!  

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!