Key health-care stakeholders from every corner of Alberta gathered in Calgary on March 7 for the Choosing Wisely Alberta (CWA) Symposium.
The conference brought together more than 100 people to focus on health-care quality improvement, and to highlight initiatives of Choosing Wisely Canada, CWA’s national counterpart.
Choosing Wisely is a campaign to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments and make smart and effective care choices. Event moderator, Dr. Kelly Burak, said the third-annual event was successful in strengthening relationships between allied medical professionals.
“I was really pleased with the day,” said the Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development with the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine.
“It was evident from the symposium that there is a big opportunity for Choosing Wisely to contribute to the integration effort that is going on in Alberta.”
The conference drew representation from the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), Physician Learning Program (PLP), College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA), Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP), Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), Strategic Clinic Networks (SCNs) and Primary Care Networks (PCNs), as well as medical students and patient representatives.
One of the major themes of the day from the over 20 speakers and moderators was the opioid crisis.
The discussion came in the footsteps of Choosing Wisely Canada releasing the Opioid Wisely campaign on March 1, which states it encourages thoughtful conversation between clinicians and patients to reduce harms associated with opioid prescribing.
Dr. Burak said a key part of the discussions was helping physicians interact with the data available to them. With that in mind, 22 posters focused on quality care delivery, as well as research and evaluation groups, were placed around the conference hall, with time designated for attendees to interact with each other and the material.
“I really hope that allowed people to come away with new thoughts and new ideas of doing things differently, and hopefully new collaborations,” said Dr. Burak, who is also the co-lead of the PLP.
Bernard Anderson, Executive Director of RhPAP, spoke to the inclusiveness of this event as it was well designed for all allied health professionals. He also noted the opioid crisis in rural Alberta is a major concern for rural communities as people who are opioid dependent may have greater difficulty accessing the needed services.
Moderator Eileen Patterson said the symposium was successful in advancing conversations between organizations in primary, specialty, long term and acute care. Ms. Patterson stated the Choosing Wisely recommendations to encourage good stewardship of the health care system.
“They’re intended to promote healthy conversations between the physician and their patient,” said Patterson. “They’re also designed to promote practice reflection by providers and teams.”
Dr. Burak echoed the words of Dr. Denise Campbell-Scherer, Associate Dean of Life Long Learning at the University of Alberta, and Co-Lead of the PLP, who stated that those present at the symposium were early adopters of change.
“Now our challenge is getting those people in the room to go out and convince their colleagues and other patients to join in the movement.”
For more information about the CWA Symposium, CWA, PLP or the Office of CME&PD please visit this website.