According to the Health Council of Canada’s recent report (Canadian Health Care Matters series) on chronic illness care, Canadians with chronic conditions rate their care as "excellent" if their doctor knows their history and helps them coordinate their care. These patients were more likely to:
- Get recommended for routine tests
- Receive help in managing their condition
- Have their medications reviewed
- Have a nurse involved in their care.
In 2003, Canada set a goal to have 50% of its citizens treated by health care teams (HCTs) by 2011. When people receive support from a coordinated team of professionals (including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians and physiotherapists), they can get the services they need and work on wellness and prevention.
According to a poll conducted by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, only 17% of people have access to such coordinated care and only 9% thought the target would be met by 2011. This is due, in part, to the slow adoption of electronic records in this country, where only 37% of family doctors use electronic records.
If you have a chronic condition, consider whether your doctor:
- Always know the important details of your medical history
- Works with other professionals in a health care team
- Helps you coordinate your care (or has someone in their practice assist you)
Speak to your doctor on your next visit if you believe you are missing out on any of these.