Do as in Switzerland, Minister

Split forehead a little while playing in the park? No need to try to find an open clinic this Sunday afternoon. Just contact your telemedicine center where all your electronic medical records are located.

Posted at 5:00 am

A professional will answer you right away, ask you to send a picture of the wound via email, then guide you to a pharmacy, taking care to explain how to attach the reconciliation bands alone.

Science fiction?

On the contrary, this superb system already existed on a large scale over ten years ago … in Switzerland. And the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, knew him well because he was working in Zurich at the time. 1

In the “refoundation” plan he presented on Tuesday, Mr. certainly intended. Dubé to raise Quebec’s health system to the most effective in the world … like Switzerland.

Let’s be honest: he has a lot to do.

But the first-line access counter model, launched in Bas-Saint-Laurent in 2020, is a good starting point. This phone service allows patients without a family doctor to quickly get an appointment with a specialist-doctor, nurse, psychologist, pharmacist-according to their needs.

The recipe works. It should be extended to the whole province, as Quebec wants. And why not add a telemedicine component to it? It’s time for us to get to the 21stat century.

But since the beginning of the millennium, Quebec’s telehealth initiatives have failed, the Auditor General regrets in his latest report. 2 Project promises are hampered by the pathetic state of our technological infrastructure, which Minister Dubé has promised to revive.

It’s true that you can’t get away with a fax!

A truly window-wide telemedicine window would be a consolation prize for Quebecers who have failed to lack access to a family doctor, as promised by the CAQ in 2018.

Four years later, the list of orphaned patients is only growing, with a record 945,000 patients waiting. If we add everyone who has a doctor, but doesn’t get an appointment, that’s a lot of patients who go to the emergency room with little hassle.

There is no choice: we must improve the first line if we want to unclog the system. Everyone agrees with that. Like most of Christian Dubé’s plan recommendations.

If the document doesn’t carry anything very new, it has the merit of being a synthesis of all the great ideas presented over 35 years in the many reports that have remained on the shelves.

Lots of great pictures, great slogans. Few numbers and accurate goals.

Opposition parties are not wrong to see here an electoral platform rather than a concrete plan.

However, Minister Dubé seems to be the right person, at the right time, to overcome the immobility of the health mammoth.

The right man, because his experience in managing the private sector yielded great results during the pandemic.

We saw this with the development of Clic Santé, which made it easier to schedule vaccination appointments. We also saw this in the dashboard presented to the population to monitor COVID-19 indicators, a formula the minister wants to copy as soon as possible to monitor health network performance.

The right time, because the pandemic has certainly shown that we can do things differently. We MUST do things differently. Horrible network defects have imposed more stringent health measures than elsewhere, costing us huge money and lives.

It is hoped that this electric shock will be strong enough to shake all the actors who are resistant to change. Because otherwise, we go straight to the wall.

The increase in health spending cannot continue like this. Five years ago, the health monopoly accounted for 43.9% of Quebec’s total budget. In a pandemic, it absorbs more than half (50.6%) of taxpayers ’money.

If this continues, the other important missions of the State will be vampire, starting with education, which is our future.

Even before the pandemic, health care spending in Quebec was nearly the highest in all of the West, except the United States. They represent 12.5%of our GDP in 2019, more than the average for OECD countries (8.9%)… and even Switzerland (12.1%).

Unfortunately, we’re not getting what we pay for, according to a Fraser Institute study comparing the performance of health systems around the world. 3

On the horizon of an aging population, we have no choice but to be better.

Everyone knows the solutions: build a strong first line, increase home care, decentralize the network, check doctors ’salaries, call the private sector, computerize health …

Everything is for apple pie. All you have to do is follow the recipe.

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