Mindful that a healthy population is critical to a sustained economic recovery and future productivity and prosperity, HEAL has identified three areas where we believe the Government of Canada can play an important role in advancing the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the health system, and create quality jobs that contribute to a balanced budget.
1. Health Human Resources
Since 2007, members of HEAL have recommended to the Government of Canada that they create a strategically targeted, time-limited, National Health Human Resource Infrastructure Fund (NHHRIF). The Fund would support health professionals in: (a) delivering new models of health care; (b) inter-professional practice; and (c) integrating research and innovation effectively and appropriately into health practice.
Recommendation 1: That the Government of Canada develop a strategic initiative, such as a National Health Human Resources Infrastructure Fund, to resource new models of health service delivery and increase the supply of health providers who are trained to work within them so that Canadians have access to the effective health care they need where, when and from whom they need it.
2. Health Information Technology
Health information technologies provide opportunities to modernize Canada’s health system. For example, telehealth technologies are increasingly and effectively employed to provide health services to people who are home-bound or in rural and remote areas. In addition, such technologies provide a ready and less expensive means of support and information to patients, caregivers and their communities in promoting health and managing illness. Further, and equally important to a responsive and modernized health system, is the commitment the Federal Government has already made to accelerate the introduction of inter-operable electronic health records to all Canadians.
Recommendation 2: That the Government of Canada lead a deliberate and strategic focus on the linkage between Canada’s digital strategy, health system transformation and the role of Canada Health Infoway.
3. National Continuum of Care Policy
There is a need to re-evaluate national policy in support of accessible and effective health services for Canadians. We need a health care system that provides direction and support not just for services but for system infrastructure. HEAL recommends that the Government of Canada lead the country in a consultation process to develop a national continuum of care policy. HEAL would be pleased to work with the Government in bringing the perspective of health care leaders to this critical policy work.
Recommendation 3: That the Government of Canada direct the Standing Committee on Health to undertake a consultation for the development of a continuum of care policy that will set directions for the future of health care in Canada.