Today, Canadians expect more from their healthcare team than ever before. They are now more informed, more engaged and many expect to be part of their shared-care. Yet, depending on where you live, your work or even certain personal characteristics, you may have less access to important care. Our healthcare system was meant to be fair, equitable and effective – which it is unfortunately failing to do. We could say that the system has provided access to critical, acute care to many Canadians that would otherwise not have had access. Our population is changing; how we respond to the needs of Canadians will also have to change.
It’s time to rethink how we deliver healthcare to Canadians. Luckily, a number of Canadian provinces have already started experimenting with new programs to try to improve services so patients receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time. One area that is receiving more and more attention is musculoskeletal conditions. The musculoskeletal system supports everything we do and should be cared for every day.
Here are a few examples of how two provinces are prioritizing and investing in your musculoskeletal health:
Inter-professional Spine Assessment and Education Clinics (ISEAC)
In 2012, the Interprofessional Spine Assessment and Education Clinic (ISAEC) pilot project was established in three sites across the province of Ontario to evaluate a new approach to care for low back pain (LBP) patients. In this project, chiropractors and advanced practice physiotherapists worked together on providing assessment, teaching self-management strategies, and recommending treatment to manage patients’ symptoms. This model has allowed patients to be sent – where appropriate – to the assessment clinics as opposed to expensive and unnecessary diagnostics and surgical consults. With wait times of less than one week, and a rate of referrals for imaging or specialist consultation of just 5%, the preliminary data is demonstrating possible opportunities to provide patients with more timely care and to reduce the use of diagnostic imaging – a huge cost to the system – with little benefit1.
Community Needs Met
Mount Carmel Clinic
Mount Carmel Clinic (MCC) situated in an under-serviced area of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was founded on the principle that everyone has the right to accessible healthcare. Interestingly, MCC specifically strives to meet the needs of the clients served. As a result, in 2011, MCC introduced chiropractic services to its multi-disciplinary team. The service is fully paid for by Manitoba Health and available to all MCC clients. The project has so far been very successful. A recent study (in-press)2 demonstrated significant improvement of pain after 12.7 treatments, even though a large number of patients suffered from chronic and spinal conditions. The study concluded that chiropractic services were being utilized and referred to by other providers and that overall the services rendered significantly decreased musculoskeletal pain in an inner city population. The program is very promising and an indication for governments to invest in more musculoskeletal care for those who are at greater risk of musculoskeletal conditions.
Let’s Talk musculoskeletal Health
Likely, you or someone you know will suffer from at least one musculoskeletal condition in the next year. Do you or your family have access to the care you need? If not, start by talking about the importance of your musculoskeletal health with your healthcare team, governments and employer. To learn more about the musculoskeletal system, talk to Canada’s spine, muscle and nervous system experts and find a chiropractor near you.
1. Interprofessional Spine Assessment and Education Clinic: Pilot Newsletter. July 2013:https://www.isaec.org/uploads/1/3/1/2/13123559/___isaec_-_pcp_newsletter_-_jul_2013.pdf
2. Passmore, S., Toth, A., Kanovsky, J., Olin, G. (in press). Initial integration of chiropractic services into a provincially funded inner city community health centre: a program description. JCCA.