Added later: on Twitter a number of frustrated Canadian patients expressed surprise at this, because of their own difficulties in the Canadian system. I’m obviously in no position to disagree – in hindsight, this post (which is indeed favorable about my specific encounters) may sound like things are perfect there. They’re not, as I said in the second sentence. That’s social media for ya.
But, what I did say here (about my experience) is just what I meant to say.
Some of my best events in the world have been in Canada. Things aren’t perfect there, by a long shot, but since they’re free of the enormous financial pressures of the American system, they’re focused on actually delivering care, and they’re years and years ahead of most of America at taking care of people.
This brief post is about two related events. In February I spoke in Vancouver at the British Columbia Patient Safety and Quality Council. About 10% of the audience was actual patients – something I’d seen earlier at the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council and at Kingston (Ontario) General Hospital. (In general, Canada wins the Patients Included badge bigtime.) That event was a keynote (standing ovation) plus a “roll up the sleeves” workshop the next day: “Okay, let’s go: where do we start?”
To further spread the message to people who weren’t there, here’s a link to their page where they posted the video and slides. (Some of the slides are edited into the video, but I move too fast, so they wisely posted the slides separately!)
Then something special happened: a neighboring group, Vancouver Island Health Authority, decided to kick it up to the next level. So I’m headed back there – less than five months later – for another event, at Island Health. They’ve been on a five year journey, totally admirable, with major cultural transformation that’s already a reality, and they’re still working at it. So it’s truly an honor to be invited back to work on their leading edge.
Here’s an inspiring video they produced about that journey.
America (and everyone), let’s ask what we can learn from what Canada is doing. I’m not saying they’re better – everyone’s journey is different. I’m asking, what can we learn?