Health legislation and regulation must support team-based care

    OTTAWA, April 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's largely self-regulated health
systems are marked by inconsistency and a lack of clarity around the rules
that govern what a health professional can and cannot do. This makes
interdisciplinary collaboration even more difficult, according to a Conference
Board analysis published today.
    "Interdisciplinary, collaborative health-care teams-such as physicians,
nurses and other health professionals working together-will be vital to care
for a rapidly-aging population," said Glen Roberts, Director, Health Programs,
and author of Achieving Public Protection through Collaborative
Self-regulation: Reflections for a New Paradigm.
    "Legislators and regulators can wait for the looming health care
challenges from an aging population. They can wait for a crisis of regulation
as occurred in the United Kingdom and Australia. Or they can take the prudent
course and act now, by increasing the clarity and consistency of rules between
jurisdictions and professions, and by supporting collaborative teams."
    By 2025, the proportion of Canadians over the age of 65 is expected to
double from its 1980 level. Older patients often have multiple chronic
diseases, which require support from a team of health-care providers.
    Inconsistency and lack of clarity in legislation and regulation about
interdisciplinary, collaborative care leads both regulators and health
professionals to err on the side of caution. Consequently, support for
collaboration has not traditionally been a high priority for regulators and
health professionals.

    Five recommendations to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration are put
forward in the report.

    - End the legislative silence on collaborative care practices. The law
      does not prohibit collaborative practices, but it should explicitly
      promote them.

    - Amend ancillary legislation. Many pieces of legislation do not reflect
      the current roles of both individuals and teams.

    - Provide financial incentives to regulators to develop standards for
      delegation, consent and codes of ethics, and other tools that promote
      collaborative care.

    - Encourage regulators to work together in the areas of quality
      assurance, complaints and discipline. Quebec and the United Kingdom
      serve as examples of better practices to emulate.

    - Create an independent forum dedicated to collecting and sharing
      information among regulators. Funded by the federal government,
      this arms-length body would have three functions:

        - develop templates for various regulatory instruments that could be
          adapted or adopted by regulators;
        - create and maintain a data warehouse to track regulatory indicators
          such as the level and nature of quality assurance activities,
          complaints and disciplinary actions, and the cost of regulation;
        - facilitate a continuing review with the mandate to develop and
          support a pan-Canadian, principle-based framework for self-

    The report is publicly available at It was funded by
Health Canada's Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centered
Practice Pan-Canadian Health Human Resource Strategy.

For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090
ext.  448,

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