Last April, the Quebec Health Minister, Gaétan Barrette, introduced his plan of creating “super-clinics” in order to increase access to frontline care for patients in Quebec.
With the opening of 50 of these super-clinics by 2019, the aim is to diminish the influx of patients in emergency rooms by providing them with clinics opened 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. The two main objectives for these clinics remains the ease of access and an integrated network of medical services.
How Will These Super-Clinics be Different?
In order to lure people away from immediately going to the emergency room, these super-clinics will offer more services and include a variety of healthcare professionals. Services such as diagnostic imaging, blood testing and others will be available within the clinic.
"We want to have something in the middle that's closer to services in an ER, but where you don't have to wait 17 hours to have access to care," Barrette added during a press release.
The goal is also to offer an easier access to care for patients without a family doctor. In order to ensure this, these super-clinics will need to offer 80% of their care to patients who either don’t have a family doctor, or have one that practices outside of a super-clinic.
The specificities of these super-clinics go far beyond this point however, as there are more procedural and administrative changes to the traditional clinics we have grown accustomed to.
What Requirements Will These Clinics Need to Follow?
These super-clinics won’t require construction, as they will be implemented within existing clinics. According to a CTV News article, “The province will designate where these clinics should be according to population and lack of services in the area.”
In addition to adding services and working hours, these clinics will need to meet certain requirements to be deemed super-clinics. Here is an infographic explaining these requirements.
What Have Been the Reactions Regarding the News?
The idea of clinics being opened for longer periods and more accessible to the general public has gained positive feedback from patients. The reactions from various healthcare professionals in ER departments, however, have not been as welcoming. With Quebec having the worst wait-times in the Western world, they feel these clinics won’t actually solve current issues, but may even lengthen wait-times. There is also the shortage of family physicians in Quebec to factor in.
“There is a dangerous myth preventing the country’s lawmakers from reducing ER wait times, [...] Unfortunately, governments don’t seem to be hearing that message. They’re employing a lot of solutions, like walk-in clinics, that [are] not going to solve the problem,” said Dr. Jill McEwan, president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP).
This resistance came with strong rebuttals from Mr. Barrette, hinting that their hesitations were "lacking logic" and that they were "wrong."
How Can Clinics Prepare?
In a government press release, it was clarified that “the new super-clinics will be subjected to many productivity standards and criteria, and they will have to be evaluated on an annual basis in order to maintain their accreditation.”
Safe to say, if clinics want in with being “super,” changes and compromises will need to be made. Incorporating automation tools to help productivity is a great way to start!