Toward a Person-Centred Health System

Alberta’s healthcare system belongs to all of us yet we as health citizens have little ability to influence how the system provides service to Albertans.

For many who manage their own and their families’ healthcare journeys, it can be a frustrating experience to achieve the quality of care they expect and need. The system often isn’t focused on the experiences and outcomes that matter to citizens.

In February 2020, IMAGINE Citizens, working with the Health Quality Council of Alberta and the Alberta SPOR Patient Engagement Program, conducted a two-day workshop to determine what mattered most to Albertans in their health system. Here’s what we heard.

“Being seen as a whole person.”

“Having knowledge.”

“Providers who can be trusted and are compassionate and accessible.”

“Providers who consider the patient’s mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions.”

“Evidence-based care.”

“Education of the public, supports in the community.”

“The system is designed for providers, not patients.”

“Increased burdens for patients.”

“Siloed services.”

“Poor communication.”

“Difficult to navigate.”

“Need more involvement of patients and their families in decisions, as opposed to ‘we know best’ approach.”

“Lack of time and attention. Focus only on the short-term.”

“Want prevention and wellness.”

“Quality of life of each individual taken into account.”

“Cumulative information.”

“Better transitions.”

We at IMAGINE Citizens envision a healthcare culture where people come first. Person-centred care is care that is respectful of and responsive to individuals’ preferences, needs and values.

Many sources call for innovation within the healthcare system and recognize that the main catalysts for change will come from outside of the system. While the lived experience of people who use healthcare services is not yet highly valued, it is this experiential knowledge that is most likely to drive needed innovation.

As an independent citizen-led organization, IMAGINE Citizens is well positioned to be the trusted voice that accelerates healthcare system reform by involving all of us as health citizens and amplifying our voices.