How do we move forward from last week's success?
Many of you have congratulated us and asked us what this access to information will mean for individual patients and for healthcare reform.
We are pleased to tell you that the answers will come from your own questions. We encourage every concerned patient, family member, journalist, academic, and member of the public to file Freedom of Information requests to your hospital, to ask your burning questions about quality of care.
This human rights movement for patient-centred, good-quality, and safe care has "caught fire", a member of our community told us, as word is spreading about a new culture of transparency. We hope she's right. If you're not sure what you want to ask for in your FOI request, we're happy to help you.
"You've unleashed an avalanche [with access to information]", a nurse told us, because there are so many problems under the surface which will come out now. "That'll keep them on their toes," another healthcare provider said, suggesting that hospitals who know the public is watching them will be more careful about what they do.
A friend summarized the medical lobby's argument as to why they didn't want to share information this way: "Ignorance is bliss." She was suggesting that doctors and hospitals are worried that once the public finds out how many mistakes and dangerous exposures are really happening, it will be difficult for us to sustain trust in our healthcare system.
But several people also told us that we shouldn't forget about the good stories, shouldn't forget to tell our readers about good care and best practices. We agree. Because the answer to medical errors and safety failures is three-fold: full public reporting, patient-centred innovation, and patient power. And there are some great examples of these if we look at other jurisdictions and other countries. So ImPatient for Change will highlight some of these initiatives as we move forward.
We are ImPatient for Change but we are also cognizant that change will take time. We know Canadians want to feel proud of our healthcare system and proud of our record on human rights, so we feel our goals are achievable, with tenacity, determination and a spirit of truth and hope. We recognize that this is a journey of a million steps, and that lives of those we care about are on the line.
And we are not working alone. Other patient groups, survivors and their family members, health coalitions, public health experts, lawyers, nurses, doctors, policy analysts, administrators, quality councils, activists and politicians have been struggling for years to improve our quality of care. It's time to unite.