By Katherine Grant
Health care reform at Hamilton Health Sciences is underway and the dialogue began last week in Grimsby.
The community engagement exercise, Planning Our Healthy Future, was held at the Grimsby Senior Centre Thursday night.
“When in doubt about which way to go, we need to look to patients and families in the communities we serve,” Rob McIsaac, CEO and president of HHS, told those gathered at the centre.
McIsaac made note of some of the challenges health-care providers are facing including a funding shortfall.
The Ontario government will not spend any more on health care, he said, but, “The costs keep going up. We need to look hard at the services we are delivering.”
McIsaac identified some of the “disruptive forces” affecting health care. He said the population of those over age 80 will double within 20 years.
“Our population is aging and their needs are more complex,” said McIsaac as he noted some of the circumstances that are driving change in health care.
“People are living longer than they used to and are living with conditions they will living with conditions they will have for the rest of their lives.”
Technology is changing rapidly, but at a cost.
“Data and information are creating new possibilities but it is super expensive. It is hard to keep up with our capital needs – funding does not include capital.”
Technology also has another side effect.
“The days of ‘doctor knows best’ are over,” said McIsaac. “Patients are taking charge of their care and with access to online information their expectations have changed and with that comes a new doctor-patient relationship.”
Those in attendance broke up into groups of four and shared stories and issues surrounding health care. The lists were then matched up under common themes such as communication. From these lists recommendations were identified.
The Grimsby meeting was the second of nine. A complete list can be found at www.hamiltonhealthsciences.ca under Planning Our Healthy Future.