Christina McMillan Boyles, Zoe Elizabeth Higgins, Celisse Olivia Bibr, Nabina Sharma

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Chronic Disease Management as Health Policy Priority for Northern Ontario: Are We Simply Stuck Spinning Our Wheels?

January 23, 2020 | Christina McMillan Boyles, Zoe Elizabeth Higgins, Celisse Olivia Bibr, Nabina Sharma

The healthcare needs of Canadians are evolving. Indeed, in 2019 the Province of Ontario announced that the healthcare system in Ontario would transform into one that is more efficient and appropriate for citizens. However, with any reform in policy, it is key to remember that not all regions of the province are alike – such as Northern Ontario. As such, when considering policy transformation, taking into account the unique needs and barriers is essential.

Within this context, this paper dives into chronic disease management. Specifically, it analyzes the issue within the current healthcare system and the barriers that northerners face. The discussion highlights areas of the healthcare system that ought to transform in order to deliver effective care to those with chronic diseases. One approach in particular that is suggested is the INSPIRED approach for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) – Implementing a Novel and Supportive Program of Individualized care for patients and families living with REspiratory Disease. While implemented in other areas of Ontario and Canada, none are in Northern Ontario, and they have been shown to reduce the number of unnecessary visits to healthcare providers by those with COPD.

As this paper highlights, there are much needed changes in the medicare model and that as health needs change, so too should the system. Therefore, creating policy that is targeted and continues to prioritize effective chronic disease management in Northern Ontario is essential for quality northern healthcare.

 

 

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