A message from the Alberta Medical Association President
January 2020

Dear albertapatients member,

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

And also, congratulations are in order.  Our albertapatients.ca community is now well over 10,000 members and growing every day.  Thank you very much for being a part of the largest patient engagement community in Canada!

2020 will be a challenging year for health care, as Alberta navigates its way through economic recovery and budget cuts.  As physicians, we clearly understand the financial difficulties facing our province, and we want to do our part to make our health care system sustainable.

But we also strongly believe that finding real efficiencies in health spending must go hand-in-hand with preserving and enhancing patient care.  These two things are not incompatible, in fact they are readily achievable provided we are willing to do things differently.  For example, for more than a decade, physicians have worked with the Province to strengthen primary medicine - family medical practices, your "Medical Home".  Emphasizing prevention, wellness and community-based care is not only better for patients, it reduces the use of very expensive acute care.

That's where you can help.  In the days ahead, it will be essential to talk to patients about issues in the health care system, their experiences, their needs, preferences and input on how the system can be better suited to them.  As physicians, knowing this information is vital - it helps us better understand what we can do as practitioners, but also allows us to be informed advocates on behalf of our patients.

A great example is the recent survey albertapatients members took part in regarding childhood vaccinations.  Excerpts from the report on that survey can be found below, along with a link to the full survey for those of you who would like to read it.

This information allows us to better understand what barriers exist for parents, ranging from concerns and questions about vaccines themselves to time management for busy families. These results allow us to educate our member physicians about what they can be doing to help improve childhood vaccination rates in Alberta, but also give us insight about how the health care system can encourage and assist parents.

That's good for patients, the provincial pocketbook and public health, and without you sharing your experiences and thoughts, it wouldn't be available to us.  Thank you again for being part of the albertapatients.ca community, and we're looking forward to hearing more from you in 2020!


Warm regards,

Dr. Christine P. Molnar MD, FRCPC 
News from albertapatients.ca

In November, we asked albertapatients members about their views and recent experiences with regard to childhood vaccines and Diagnostic Imaging Tests.  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:

Darla K
Patti H
Cindy Y
Garry T
Brad M
Morgan H
Ben A
Faye S
Kat M
John S
Alecia D
Sarah L
Darlene R
Ethan S
Brian K
Sandra R
Kathlyn A
Franklin L
Priscilla F
Corie D

Beaver County
Alberta Beach

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?
Childhood Vaccinations

The vast majority of parents (with kids aged 17 years or less) have children with "up-to-date" vaccination records (84%), with another 12% saying their children have had at least some of their recommended vaccinations at this point.

Only 3% of parents interviewed report that their children have not received any type of vaccinations.

  • Slightly higher incidence of incomplete vaccinations among parents with children under the age of two years (although this could be an artifact of the question wording/scheduling of complete vaccination regime)
  • Significantly higher incidence of completed vaccinations among those saying they have children aged 18+ (though not included in the study's "parent" sample, which may suggest some generational/experiential variance in attitudes toward childhood vaccines

Over three-quarters of parents interviewed do not have any concerns or questions about vaccines for their children, however a sizable minority (23%) do.

  • Among this group of concerned parents, fully 42% have serious concerns about vaccines (which represents roughly 10% of the entire parent population)
  • Concerns or questions about vaccines are more common among those with younger children and among younger parents
Most common concerns about vaccines focus on possible side-effects or reactions, along with the ingredients/components of the vaccines themselves.

Three common themes emerge as opportunities to remove barriers to childhood vaccinations:

CONVENIENCE: Location, office hours (time of day/week) for access to public health clinics, offering vaccinations at kindergarten/more convenient locations.

CALENDAR: Providing reminders to parents via mail/text, family physicians providing reminders during other scheduled appointments, etc.  Helping parents keep track of their child's vaccination schedule.

CONFIDENCE: Having their family physician recommend a vaccination during other scheduled appointments, providing more information (particularly scientific/scholarly) about vaccines (their importance, efficacy, safety, etc.)

  • Parents with younger children express higher interest in a text reminder than one through the mail
  • Those with vaccination concerns are heavily influenced by online academic research sources, while 13% of this group say there is NOTHING that would make them more likely to inoculate their children

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!