May 2, 2012

‘Change’ is likely one of the words most frequently heard in health care today.                 

In our lifetimes – even if you’re still in your first few decades – most of us have seen significant progress in the world of medicine and health care.

We’re benefiting from advances like same day surgery for cataracts, hip and knee replacements, a better ability to scan bodies diagnostically, electronic medicine for clinical care from distant providers, and enhanced geriatric attention to keep us healthier, longer.

And yet, despite this change, I expect that someday my future grandchildren will be amused when they look back at health care in our time. That’s because the focus has been on a ‘system’ of care concerned about statistics and institutions, and less concerned about people and community. And that’s why we have just prepared a progress report to our communities.

This report features people, their stories and photos that demonstrate how the delivery of health care is changing in Northeastern Ontario with LHIN support and partner collaboration. The articles focus on fellow Community Report Cover_ENNortherners– some of whom may be your neighbours, family members or friends – who explain how local health care is improving and helping them navigate their daily lives in a more positive and healthy manner.  Clearly, the journey is in the early stages…

We have talked to literally hundreds of Northerners who have told us they welcome the information on health care and expect better alignment of health care services, better integrated providers and better health coordinated care. 

For change to be successful, we must take our region’s population needs into account: we have a higher than the provincial average of people over the age of 65, a declining population, and high rates of chronic disease, obesity and substance abuse.

That’s why, in 2012, the NE LHIN is focusing on:

  • Increasing primary care coordination
  • Enhancing coordination and transitions of care
  • Facilitating realignment and system transformation
  • Making mental health and addiction programs and services more accessible
  • Enhancing access to care for special population groups such as Francophone and Aboriginals 
  • Expanding ehealth and the use of technology
  • Enabling the recruitment and retention of health care professionals

I invite you to look through our report to learn about the health care change happening here in the North East. I also thank you for continuing to work in partnership with the NE LHIN to make healthy change happen for fellow Northerners. I appreciate your interest and suggestions as we work together to meet the needs of the frail elderly.