‘Super users’ of health care system the target of reforms

Building on local strengths key to cooling medical hot spots

An intriguing idea was recently put forward by the Government of Saskatchewan, that of addressing medical hot spots. It has been reported that just five people were responsible for visiting Saskatchewan emergency rooms over 500 times in the last year. One patient alone is said to have required over one million dollars in health services.

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Upstream: Talking differently about health

Social factors play a significant role in determining whether we will be healthy or ill. Our health care is but one element of what makes the biggest difference in health outcomes. This has been understood for centuries, and empirically validated in recent decades with study after study demonstrating health inequalities between wealthy and disadvantaged populations. 

Yet political conversations about health still tend to fall into familiar traps. When we talk about health we return by reflex to doctors and nurses, hospitals and pharmacies. And when we talk about politics — the field of endeavour with the greatest impact on what determines health outcomes — a narrow and economistic outlook seems to trump any attempts to address those social determinants.

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Canada’s doctors call for action on healthy equity

Doctors link income, education, housing and nutrition to health inequities

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) held its annual General Council in Calgary this week (August 18-21, 2013). Last summer in Yellowknife, I attended this meeting as a representative of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. It was not at all what I’d expected.

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