Telemedicine is in and fax machines are out.
The Quebec government has unveiled a new plan to revamp the province's healthcare system over the next three years. Among 50 proposed updates, Health Minister Christian Dubé emphasized increasing health sector hiring, centralizing information sharing, and improving access to care.
"We have two objectives: that all Quebecers have the best patient experience... [and] that the health network is a choice employer," said Dubé.
The government wants to hire 1,000 nurses to relieve stress on the network and remove mandatory overtime. It would also offer increased funding for students interested in entering the health field. Improving conditions for healthcare workers will entice more workers, thus improving patient care, said Dubé.
Nous avons 2 grands objectifs avec ce plan:\n-Offrir aux Qu\u00e9b\u00e9cois la meilleure exp\u00e9rience-patient par une porte d\u2019entr\u00e9e unique pour toute la 1\u00e8re ligne -Devenir un employeur de choix pour le personnel du r\u00e9seau\n\nAjd nous en avons eu la d\u00e9monstration: nous sommes tous mobilis\u00e9s!pic.twitter.com/eLEuXrLDn3— Christian Dub\u00e9 (@Christian Dub\u00e9) 1648564942
As part of the hiring boost, the government plans to create hospital command centres that oversee the allocation of beds to patients. Dubé said the new system would reduce emergency room wait times.
New hospitals, CHSLDs, and health facility expansions are also proposed for Montreal and other parts of the province to make more beds available.
A major part of the plan is the modernization of data sharing within the health network. The Health Minister said the continued use of fax machines is outdated and not only prevents open communication between facilities but requires patients to repeat their medical history every time they need care. Instead, he proposed a single medical record for every patient, accessible online to all healthcare providers.
Plusieurs aspects de ce plan vont dans le sens des conclusions de notre chantier sur l'acc\u00e8s aux soins :\n- Le d\u00e9cloisonnement de champs de pratique;\n- La modernisation technologique des plateformes;\n- L\u2019\u00e9largissement de la t\u00e9l\u00e9sant\u00e9;\n- La revalorisation de la m\u00e9decine familiale.— Coll\u00e8ge des m\u00e9decins du Qu\u00e9bec (@Coll\u00e8ge des m\u00e9decins du Qu\u00e9bec) 1648565989
Telemedicine would see significant investment allowing Quebecers to call a number as early as next year to get in-depth health advice or update a prescription without having to leave the house. Family doctors would also have to revamp their scheduling process to allow for more appointments with non-regular patients. The goal is to give residents access to care that doesn't involve going to the emergency room when they don't need to.
"The last two years, during the pandemic, showed that we can make changes that work," said Dubé.
The government has not yet shared how it plans to fund the new healthcare plan.