Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 14(4) May 2019 : 6-9.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2019.25861

Nothing About Me Without Me

Jennifer Zelmer

Active and effective partnerships with patients are increasingly recognized as key to improving the design, delivery and organization of health services and policy. Co-designing for improvement yields new insights and tends to lead to better results than healthcare providers, researchers, or policy makers acting on their own.

(For convenience, I use the term "patient" here since it has been identified as a term of choice in several Canadian focus groups. I intend it in an inclusive sense, not only referring to those who have a particular health problem or who use specific health services, but also family, friends, and other caregivers, as well as those who bring other important perspectives from their lived experience of interactions with the health and social sectors.)

Of course, that doesn't mean that moving in this direction is always straightforward. While much has been written about how patients' perspectives and leadership can change care, research, education, and policy, this is a journey where we are collectively learning by doing.

Several articles in this issue of Healthcare Policy/Politiques de Santé add to our understanding in this regard. James Shaw and colleagues reflect on the importance of considering the complementary perspectives of public representatives and potential users on health innovation policy. They explore the added dimensions that personal and collective lenses offer to these conversations. Iris Gorfinkel and Joel Lexchin take us into the world of patient portals, addressing their potential to improve collaboration in care between patients and primary care providers. And Josée Lavoie and colleagues take a deep dive into how best to support the care needs of people living with end-stage kidney disease in Northern Manitoba. I appreciate the many insights that these authors offer, as well as those writing on topics as diverse as dementia care reform, deprescribing, and fertility consultations in this issue.

As this is the final issue for this volume of the journal, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone involved in the publication process over the last year. Authors are, of course, central to this process. Papers that pass initial triage are then assigned to one of the journal's editors. S/he oversees the review process. Over the past year, I have been fortunate to work with a talented and committed team of editors from across the country: François Béland, Roger Chafe, Raisa Deber, Mark Dobrow, Eric Latimer, Joel Lexchin and Claude Sicotte, as well as Contributing Editor Steven Lewis.

The lead editor for each paper works with Ania Bogacka, the journal's Managing Editor, to select reviewers. We depend on reviewers' insights, expertise and professionalism to help assess and improve submissions and their relevance for the journal's readers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have served as reviewers during the past year (see page 79). Special thanks are due to those who provide timely reviews – and to authors who respond to reviews as quickly as possible – so that we can achieve the time-to-publication goals that we have set for the journal. This goal also depends on the continued efforts of the team at Longwoods Publishing who produce the journal.

On behalf of myself and all others who benefit from the insights published in Healthcare Policy/Politiques de Santé, collective thanks to all those who make the journal possible.

Jennifer Zelmer, PhD, Editor-in-Chief


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