Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 21(1) April 2018 : 13-18.doi:10.12927/hcq.2018.25522
Public Opinions on Pharmacare

Healthcare in Canada: Choices Going Forward

Terrence Montague, Bonnie Cochrane, Amédé Gogovor, John Aylen, Lesli Martin and Joanna Nemis-White

Abstract

The overarching purpose of serial Health Care in Canada (HCIC) surveys of the adult Canadian public and a broad spectrum of healthcare professionals over the past two decades has been the development of an evidence-based map to inform strategic and clinical decisions to improve care and outcomes for Canadians. Recent surveys reveal a growing concern that medicare may require complete rebuilding or major strategic repairs. On the other hand, a majority of stakeholders perceive continuing underlying quality in our clinical care and look forward to both system- and patient-centred initiatives to improve future care. Currently, the most strongly supported strategic improvement target among the public and professional caregivers is enhanced availability of less expensive prescription medications. With regard to practical implementation of this strategy, the public's (39%) and healthcare professionals' (39–54%) preference was institution of a nation-wide pharmacare plan, funded by a federal tax. There was also pan-stakeholder concordance around the two least favoured potential strategies: increasing taxes and shifting money from other funded services. In terms of improving clinical care, the public and all professional groups were also concordant in most strongly supporting increases in home and community care services, disease prevention/wellness education and use of non-physician care providers and electronic health records. There was also remarkable concordance regarding who is most responsible for implementing these preferred innovations: research hospitals/health authorities, government funding agencies and pharmaceutical/biotech industries. In summary, contemporary Canadian public and health professionals agree on key strategic and practical priorities to improve future care and outcomes. Moreover, they concur on who should lead their implementation. This public/professional concordance supporting evidence-driven choices and leadership for improving care is not common. It is, however, an opportunity, providing a call to arms for other stakeholders, particularly governments and industry, to recognize the opportunity and their leadership expectations and to act upon them. Things can be better.

 

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