What will healthcare look like in 2050? Dr. Rueben Devlin, Chair & Special Advisor to the Ontario Premiers' Council on Improving Healthcare & Ending Hallway Medicine, asked this question at the OCFP Renew conference in September. Dr. Devlin is the former CEO of the Humber River Hospital, which bills itself as “Ontario’s first digital hospital”. He told us about a family game: What is here now that was not here 30 years ago, and what will be here 30 years in the future that is not here now? His father, a former General Practitioner, carried morphine and epinephrine in his doctor’s bag. Today, patients carry their own epi-pens and we have defibrillators in most public spaces. Thirty years ago, smartphones would have been considered space age! The ubiquitous driverless cars of the Jetsons are nearly a reality. So, what do we anticipate will change in the delivery of healthcare in the next 30 years? This is the challenge I put to the panel for the Departmental Assembly at our Faculty Retreat. Marie-Hélène Chomienne, Doug Manuel, Jay Mercer and Liz Muggah will tackle these questions with attention to health care delivery, teaching and research. Are we preparing our learners for this future?
Dr. Devlin emphasized the need for quality, safety, efficiency and Customer Service as he tackles the government’s priority health areas: acute care, long-term care, home care, primary care, mental health, addiction, digital health and innovation. The other panelists at the conference included André Picard, presenting a patient view, Dr. Ruth Wilson, sharing lessons learned with the introduction of new models of family medicine in the province, and Ross Upshur, focusing on our social mandate to serve our patients and communities.
The OCFP and the Departments of Family Medicine across the country have a responsibility to our patients and to our future physicians to ensure we support the development of an accountable healthcare system for all. Demonstrating that strong family medicine is fundamental to quality, effectiveness, and compassionate care is part of our job. We are fully aware that the current statistics show we have a long way to go to improve, and to demonstrate that improvement. I look forward to your ideas at the Departmental Assembly and afterwards (you can always reach me at email@example.com). Do not hold back. As Dr. Devlin said to the leaders, do not bring your ideas after the shovels are in the ground! We need them at the planning stages. I look forward to your input.