GREAT READ: Survival at the front lines of the health-care quagmire

I have been a family physician practising in this province for 30 years. It is a great joy looking after my patients. However, looking after them in the health care quagmire of disconnected information and bureaucratic silos is becoming a nightmare. It is alarming seeing my young colleagues bewildered so early in their careers, and new graduates of family medicine are afraid to set up practice.

The province is carved up into 14 Local Health Integration Networks and 76 sub-LHINs each seemingly reinventing the wheel while consultants analyze the same things over and over again. There is an obsession with accountability frameworks designed by this ever growing bureaucracy that has little idea about what we actually do and what tools we need to do our job.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on a huge array of electronic repositories and information systems that don’t integrate at the most basic level with each other years after they were built. Providers spend countless hours trying to locate who does what where and what hoops to jump through to get appointments. We fax long paper forms with lab and other reports that are somehow not available from these expensive repositories. We typically access each other by phone in the absence of electronic messaging capabilities.


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