Strong health system in Canada by 2020, says CNA

Empower & Inspire: Spread Health & Wellness

By 2020, problems with access to health services will be eradicated and registered nurses will be central to Canada’s primary care system, predicts the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) in Vision for Change a vision statement for Canada’s health system and a signature component of their 100th anniversary.

“The current health system is not sustainable for 2020,” said Dr. Marlene Smadu, president of CNA. “In the coming years, the world will be confronted with more active, virulent illnesses and diseases of the aging such as arthritis and diabetes. Through new technology, major advances in genetic research and significant changes to the roles and the diversity of health professionals, we envision a Canadian health system that will address these challenges in a timely and effective way.”

CNA marks 2008 as its 100th anniversary with a dramatic but optimistic vision of the Canadian health system. Projected growth in the demand for health services will be offset by advances in technology, including robotics and diagnostic tools, as well as the heightened emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. These developments will improve the current system of costly and fragmented health-care delivery.

“The advancement in information technology over the last 20 years has dramatically changed the expectation of Canadian patients,” said Dr. Smadu. “In Canada today, patients are far better informed about their health and well-being than previous generations, and when they become ill, the trend is to advocate for themselves, or through family members. By 2020, patients will be directly involved in many more decisions regarding their care, quality of life and health promotion at every age and stage of their lives.”

CNA predicts that patients will directly access primary care services from a variety of providers, including nurses who will deliver the bulk of primary care services. Patients with complex and rare conditions will be referred to physicians, including family medicine and other specialists.

“Health care will no longer mean hospitals, surgeons and high-tech diagnostic tests first and foremost,” said Dr. Smadu. “That type of health care will be the exception rather than the norm. Health promotion, disease prevention and managing chronic disease in the community will be the norm. A greater proportion of illness care, and much more complex care ? including acute, long-term and palliative care ? will be provided in homes, hospices and other community settings.”

A significant trend improving access to specialized health-care services is telehealth, which CNA envisions will become instrumental in all health settings. Improved technology will enable greater telehealth care, reducing the need to travel for surgical and other invasive procedures, thereby better serving those unable to leave their homes for treatment. The delivery of telehealth services costs the health system half of that of a face-to-face visit with a nurse.

“This centennial year marks CNA’s commitment as a national organization to enable the important changes needed within the nursing profession and the health system. To do this, CNA will work with all levels of government, its many health partners and with Canadians who count on the health system to be there for them.”

Source: Canadian Nurses Association, Canada

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