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More to be done on chronic disease management: Towle

CALGARY, AB (September 9, 2014): The latest Auditor General report investigating the management of chronic diseases shows there still remain much needed improvements needed to guarantee quality care to patients living with these conditions, Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle said today.

“Under the PC government, there has been a disappointing lack of leadership on this file. It has led to the point today where patients are left with fewer options and health care providers are unable to communicate with one another or their patients,” Towle said. “These fundamental issues are not new. We’ve heard them before from the Health Quality Council, doctors themselves, and Albertans frustrated with our health care system.”

 

The report showed, “the Department of Health and Alberta Health Services do not have a process to identify individuals with chronic disease within physician practices or to determine the demand for chronic disease management services in the province as a whole.”

 

To date, the Alberta government has spent $800 million on creating an electronic health record, but Towle said it appears the system is still unable to provide physicians with basic patient information like who suffers from a chronic disease.

 

“We’ve repeatedly said the government needs to make a universal health record available and a top priority,” Towle said.

 

According to the AG report, a quarter of Albertans will develop diabetes in their lifetime. The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that the province spends $1.3 billion annually to treat diabetes and conditions resulting from diabetes. That number is expected to significantly increase over the next decade.

 

This past spring, the Canadian Diabetes Association established a “Diabetes Charter for Canada.” Alberta was one of only two provinces that did not sign the charter.

 

“Our health care system has real caring and professional people assisting people through these chronic diseases, but there is more that needs to be done,” Towle said. “Without taking the steps today to address disease management, we will see costs escalate dramatically in the years to come.”