Alberta Health Services officially launched their Patient First strategy on June 8, which was designed to ensure that patients and families play active roles with their health teams. By becoming an equal partner in their own care, AHS says patients will see improved results and experiences in their encounters with the service.
“The patient first strategy gives patients, clients and families a central place by which decisions are made and represents the commitment from AHS to improving the patient experiencing by focusing on priorities and values of the people we serve,” Dr. Verna Yiu, vice president of quality and chief medical officer for AHS.
“Through this strategy AHS will enhance their team-based approach to care, improve co-ordination and continuity of care in times of transition and improve communications between patients, families and their health-care providers.”
She said the new strategy encourages patients and families to pose questions and concerns, which is the basis of family-centred care. With Patient First, AHS is looking to cement the principles of patient-family centred care in a consistent and standardized way across the organization.
AHS president and CEO Vickie Kaminsky said the strategy’s launch shows a significant step toward AHS becoming the health-care system the province wants and deserves. Albertans played a key role in the development of Patient First, with over 300 people, including patients and their families, taking part in the consultation process for the strategy.
She says they were consulted on, “What worked for them, what didn’t work for them, and what changes would they like to see from AHS.”
Other input was given by AHS staff and physicians, service providers, community partners and members of other stakeholder groups like the Aboriginal Wisdom Council, the Health Advisory Council, and the Children and Youth Advisory Council and the Strategic Clinical Networks.
Throughout the consultation and review process she says it became clear that Albertans want to be involved as full partners in their own care and want care that focuses on their own individual health needs. In the end, AHS came up with the Patient First strategy as a four-priority approach.
“First, we need to empower patients and families to be active members in their health-care team, encouraging them to ask questions, raise their concerns and to show that we respect their values, their needs and their preferences,” she said.
“Secondly, we need to improve communications between patients and families and their health-care providers as well as between all health-care providers to ensure that care plans are fully understood by all parties and that pertinent patient information is shared among all members of the health-care team.”
The third priority was the need to build a team-based approach to care that gives patients and families a comprehensive and seamless health-care experience.
See “Patient First,” Page 6
The final priority was to improve co-ordination and continuity of care when patients move between units or in and out of different facilities.
“I want to stress that good communication, good patient transition and a patient-appropriate, team-based approach happens every day at AHS sites right across the province. With this strategy there will be hope to make sure that this occurs every time, during every encounter at every health-care facility in a consistent and standardized way.”