Health Council of Canada. (2012). Turning what we know into action: A commentary on the National Symposium on Patient Engagement. Retrieved from http://healthcouncilcanada.ca/rpt_det_gen.php?id=321&rf=2.
“In October 2011, the Health Council of Canada hosted a national symposium on patient engagement. The plan was simple enough: we wanted to explore how good ideas have been, and could be, turned into action. As we began to develop the agenda for the day, we learned there is no shortage of Canadians—both within and outside the health system—with much to say on the matter. The over 160 people who attended collectively represented the Canadian health care system: patients; representatives from patient organizations; federal and provincial governments, regional health authorities, and local health integration networks; health system administrators; health care providers; and researchers.
We heard many perspectives. Patients told us what it is like to navigate the often intimidating and confusing Canadian health care system. Health care providers gave us an insider’s view of how they would improve this same system for their patients, and planners and administrators told us how they’re working to make patient centred care a reality. Our intention was three-fold: to raise awareness of the potential of patient engagement as an instrument of change; to spark a national dialogue that would build support for patient engagement; and to help those who are entering this burgeoning field of system-level change to gain insight into tools and experiences that are available to either start or advance their patient engagement work. To keep the momentum from that day going, we developed this commentary and proceedings report to inspire governments, health care workers, and patients to take up patient engagement in their own ways.
For the Health Council of Canada, our work didn’t end with the symposium. We will keep what we learned in October fresh in our minds, and embed it into all that we do. Patient engagement at all levels happens when we ask ourselves, “Is this the right thing to do so that patients and their caregivers have a voice?” We hope all symposium participants are doing the same.
We can learn from one another, share what others are doing well, and, more importantly, not be afraid to ask them how they did it. The ideas for change are out there. By sharing what we learn from those actively involved in health care, and putting that knowledge into practice, we can start to turn ideas and experience into a better reality for all Canadian patients.