Charlie Tan is a medical student at McMaster University

Lawrence Loh is Associate Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health

 

Too often, physicians forget that they might be just one of many sources of health advice that patients access. Behind every physician-patient encounter is a difference in how health and wellness are perceived and pursued. For many physicians, their views and advice are shaped by formal education and training, the Hippocratic Oath, and the insights of colleagues, researchers, and experts. Their patients, by contrast, have a different and often wider range of influences, be it personal beliefs, social networks, or cultural traditions.

Over the last three decades, physician practice has been transformed by two important movements ...continue reading

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Kim Perrotta is Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)

 

A month ago the Financial Post published a commentary entitled “They keep saying shutting down coal will make us healthier, so how come there’s no evidence of it?” written by Warren Kindzierski of the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. It seems a sad statement of our times that this article, which muddies the waters with incomplete facts and misleading information about coal plants, air pollution and human health, was published in the middle of  an important debate about policies aimed at supporting the phase-out coal plants Canada-wide by 2030. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment feels strongly that publication of the article was irresponsible. ...continue reading

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Sarah Currie lives in Ottawa, Ontario

 

I changed jobs this week. On Monday, my first day, when I should have been primarily concerned with learning the office microwave-cleaning rota and orienting myself to a new Xerox print centre, I was a little preoccupied. At 8 pm on Sunday, I found out that my father had fallen, broken his hip, undergone emergency surgery, and was in isolation in a hospital in southwestern Ontario. Details were fuzzy. Hospital staff would not share much with my aunt, my father’s sister. He had managed to call her on Sunday morning, 24 hours after his fall, once he had come round after anaesthesia. He needed her to go to his house to make sure my mom was okay. My mom wasn’t answering the phone.

Unanswered phone calls are not uncommon at my parents’ house. My father is quite hard of hearing, after spending 37 years as an infantry officer. My mother tends not to answer the phone because she is self-conscious. She has a severe cognitive disability ...continue reading

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Doctor Mom is a physician who lives in Ontario*

 

It’s March Break, which means last chance to do winter activities for some families in Canada. Unfortunately, I’m not Winter Fun Mom so I booked Son #2 - the only person in our family who is interested in winter sports - on a bus-in snowboarding camp. On day 1 I warned him to be careful and to try not to injure himself. On day 2 I forgot to warn him. So at 2pm on day 2 I got a call from the snowboard instructor to tell me that my son had fallen and would soon be on his way to hospital in an ambulance.

I know I should be more encouraging of adventure and more accepting of risk-taking in my boys. ...continue reading

Interview with Dr. Andrea Boggild, clinical director in the Tropical Disease Unit at the Toronto General Hospital, and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

In this podcast Dr. Boggild gives practical advice about preventing and diagnosing Zika virus in Canada. She also shares the findings of the research article she co-authored that analyzed data coming from Canadian Travel Medicine Network sites, or CanTravNet, in Canada.

Websites mentioned in the podcast:
Public Health Agency of Canada CATMAT recommendations: www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/catmat-…v/index-eng.php
Government of Canada travel information: travel.gc.ca

Listen to the author interview:

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Interview with Dr. Brett Thombs, professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and senior investigator of the Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He is also chair-elect of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and chair of the tobacco guideline working group.

In their clinical guideline published in the CMAJ (open access), Dr. Thombs and the Task Force reviewed the evidence supporting behavioural interventions for prevention and treatment of smoking in children and youth. He explains their findings in this podcast.

Listen to the author interview:

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Did you hear about Chris’s mint condition 1963 Shelby Cobra? Mechanics say he didn’t check the oil for decades, and the engine just seized one day on the way to work. When they opened it up, they say there wasn’t much left. Such a shame really.

Said Nobody. EVER.

Jazlin Mayhue is a researcher in Victoria, BC

Peter Hobza is a family physician in Victoria, BC

Robert O'Connor is a family physician in Victoria, BC

 

Introducing a new concept...

We all know folks who are not vigilant with preventive health for their body. However, a subset of them wouldn’t drive an irreplaceable million-dollar car until it was destroyed from lack of maintenance. A human’s life and body are irreplaceable, and worth at least a million dollars, when considering the price of an injury causing death. Therefore, it’s logical to help some people think of treating their body as well as a valuable car. ...continue reading

Arlene Bierman is the Director of Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement (CEPI) at the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Rick Glazier is a Family Physician and Senior Scientist and Program Lead of Primary Care and Population Health at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Toronto, Canada

 

Primary care is foundational to optimizing individual and population health. Health systems based upon primary care provide better access to care while improving health equity and outcomes and reducing costs. Effective models of primary care can greatly enhance the value of increasingly constrained health care spending. Despite large investments on primary care transformation in the US and Canada, primary care has yet to achieve its full promise in either country. Sharing successes and failures from attempts at innovation on both sides of the border can help each country accelerate improvement.

Despite very different health systems, primary care practices in both countries encounter remarkably similar challenges in delivering care. At the point of care, patients’ needs are similar and their experiences too often suboptimal. ...continue reading

Interview with Dr. Steve Morgan, professor of health policy at the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health and Dr. Nav Persaud, physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Morgan, Dr. Persaud and their co-authors published a research article in CMAJ in which they estimated the likely savings from public coverage of a list of essential medicines across Canada. They explain their findings in this podcast.

Listen to the author interview:

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Robyn Tamblyn is the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, and a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and  Epidemiology & Biostatistics in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, Canada

Andrew Bazemore is a practicing physician and the Director of the Robert Graham Center – Policy Studies in Family Medicine & Primary Care -  in Washington, DC

 

Yehuda Berg, an American author and spiritual leader, was probably talking about individual level transformation when he said “We need to realize that our path to transformation is through our mistakes. We're meant to make mistakes, recognize them, and move on to become unlimited.” But the statement has a lot of validity even applied to system level transformation.

Canada and the United States share the dubious honor of ranking near the top of OECD nations for total healthcare costs and near the bottom for health outcomes, whether measured in terms of individual health or health system performance. But it is through the recognition of these mistakes that both countries have embarked on a path toward transformation.

While differences between the two systems of health care delivery are frequently emphasized, we actually face some common challenges to primary care transformation ...continue reading