Health care providers from across Saskatchewan coming together to improve
care for people living with depression and chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD)

SASKATOON, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - Saskatchewan residents with depression and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will soon be receiving better care as a result of a major learning program aimed at doctors and other health providers.

The 18-month initiative, called the Saskatchewan Chronic Disease Management Collaborative II, will give health care professionals strategies for applying the best available medical evidence when treating these two chronic conditions. Participants will also learn how to redesign their scheduling systems to make it easier for patients to get appointments. Fifty-four primary care practices - involving 47 family doctors and 170 other care providers - are participating in the initiative, which is being led by the province's Health Quality Council.

Why a Collaborative?

Research shows there is a significant gap between what is widely regarded as optimal care and the care that patients actually receive. A Collaborative is a specific method to rapidly spread best practices to multiple settings; participants attend in-person learning workshops, test new ways to deliver care, then share lessons about what changes did and did not work. The first chronic disease management Collaborative led by HQC, which ran from November 2005 to March 2009 and involved 25% of all family physicians, improved care for 18,000 patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease. (For more information about the Chronic Disease Management Collaborative, go to

Marlene Smadu, chair of the Health Quality Council, says this is the second such initiative HQC has organized to improve chronic disease care for Saskatchewan patients, and notes the approach is consistent with recommendations in the recently released Patient First Review. "In his final report, Commissioner Tony Dagnone says our health system must ensure Saskatchewan patients receive evidence-based, standardized care, provided by multidisciplinary care teams."

Why depression and COPD?

Providers and primary care teams identified depression and COPD as areas where they want help improving care. Depression is only accurately diagnosed in about half of patients, and among those, only about one in three receives appropriate care. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Saskatchewan, and is projected to be the third most common cause of death by the year 2015.

Dr. Geeta Achyuthan, of Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region, participated in the first Collaborative. She says the online tools she has access to as part of the project are a key reason she's back a second time. "The flowsheets have helped me ensure that all my diabetic and CAD (coronary artery disease) patients are being managed according to current guidelines. I have reassurance that I am doing the right things and it's being tracked." Another returning physician, Dr. Stan Oleksinski, of Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, says his patients take a more active role in their own treatment when they regularly see where their test results are relative to targets. "Patients are more compliant with taking their medications and doing self-management," he says.

The Health Quality Council is an independent agency that works closely with health regions, providers, and government to accelerate improvement in Saskatchewan's health care system. HQC is fulfilling this mission by measuring and reporting on quality, building leadership and capability for improvement, engaging providers, and informing health policy.

SOURCE Health Quality Council

For further information: For further information: Jade Gulash, Health Quality Council, Phone: 229-1190,

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