Advancing Primary Care, PHCC 3rd International Primary Care conference highlights
This year, the 3rd international PHCC conference under the patronage of Her Excellency Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari is the Minister of Public Health for the State of Qatar rich with engaging stories of clinical and health systems approaches to coping with the modern health trends and major challenges. Global healthcare minds were aligned with clear messages on the challenges facing primary care and the significance of partnerships and collaborations to advance best practice.
We are investing more and more in primary care every year, with our new Health and Wellness Centers providing much more care to people’s homes than ever before. That’s why there has never been a better opportunity than this years’ conference for our clinicians and healthcare staff to explore new and innovative approaches to delivering our vision of enhancing population health and helping people stay fit and healthy.” Said Her Excellency Dr Hana Mohamed Al Kuwari, The Minister of Public Health.
Delivering a keynote Dr Mariam Abdulmalik, managing director of PHCC opened the last day of the 3rd International Primary Care Conference with a keynote address on “Building blocks for Primary Health Care (Dynamic Transformation) a studied approach through PHCC healthcare journey. The presentation underlined the position of primary care as the first step to healthcare in the Qatar Health System.
Dr Abdul Malik commented “This has been a great opportunity for us to share with our international colleagues Qatar’s legacy to promote the health and wellbeing of people through the provision of outstanding healthcare services. Some of the best healthcare minds came together globally and shared their experiences, research and ideas, which created a platform of discussion and a space to inspire one another moving forward.”
View highlights below.
Dr Zelaikha Mohsin Al Wahedi, Executive Director Workforce Development and Training at PHCC in her presentation discussed ‘The Vision for Healthcare Learning, Education and Development. Her presentation focused on the strategic initiatives that drive the development of a competent health care workforce supporting a world class primary health care service in Qatar.
“All our initiatives are connected to the National Health Strategy, National Primary Health Care Strategy and the Qatar National Vision 2030, and aim at gaining excellence in workforce and development,” commented Dr Al Wahedi
A number of the speakers examined health systems and quality improvement driving conversation towards the role of information and assesment in delivering patient centered health services.
Dr Samya Ahmad Al Abdulla, executive director of operations PHCC presented a session on primary care driven population health management.
“In highly complex and often competitive health care environments with multiple providers, a strategy of cooperation between clinical delivery, public health agencies and the community is required to overcome multiple challenges and obstacles and to deliver on jointly improving population health. Qatar has advance healthcare services in both primary and secondary care however it still faces the common global challenges including policy gaps, fragmented pathways, effective financing and enhancing technology.”
The strategy of improving healthcare and health outcomes is in the front of Qatar’s national vision and has mandated primary care as the foundation and is considering the shifting of resources to strengthen primary care. The Reduction of duplication, confusion and delay in the system is essential for timely access to care services whilst shifting focus to prevention and protection.
With respect to clinical management and practice sessions delivered included Childhood Development Disorders and Screening and Detecting Mental Health Issues in Primary Care, the challenges & opportunities, focusing on “value” and patient outcomes as key drivers of the future of their operations.
Flora R. Asuncion, Assistant Managing Director for Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) in Qatar, delivered a keynote on the Critical Role of Primary Care in the Health Ecosystem
“We continue to witness ever changing situation, challenges and trends in healthcare. The demand on the healthcare systems is unrelenting to reduce the burden of disease through improved access and quality that is delivered efficiently and at an affordable price. As leaders, we need to think differently in how we can engage each other, create new frames by which we view and interact with our partners and people in our communities.”
“The Challenges: Our patient feedback has shown overall satisfaction with the continued developments in PHCC and the services that our medical teams provide. However, of course like any other healthcare system we are always faced with resistance from segments of the population when introducing new models or services.
The real challenge is the public’s perceptions of the role of primary care. Historically in Qatar, primary care has been understood to be providing episodic care and curative treatment of illness rather than a health care provider that is here to manage the health of the population, promote good health and encourage preventive care for people living in Qatar.”
“The Change: We need to redefine and strengthen the role of primary care and to expand the types of specialties that can be delivered in the community so that these services are delivered in primary care facilities within communities closer to home.
In PHCC we believe in empowering our local resources, delivering effective community engagement and partnering with patients, carers and stakeholders in the health system to drive this change.
There needs to be explicit recognition that primary care providers are the first point of contact for health, delivered through the Family Medicine practice and as the ‘specialists for life’ they will be able to direct families and individuals to modify their lifestyle and behavior towards their own health. In this way, primary care becomes their lifelong support and partner for health and wellness.”
Speaking on accountable care, Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Qatar National Cancer Committee, Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of Sidra Medical and Research Centre and a Member of the Qatar Foundation Advisory Board pointed out that accountable care supports high-value, patient-focused care innovation by directly aligning healthcare payments and other policies with the goal of better outcomes at a lower cost. Accountable care has been defined as a group of providers who are held jointly accountable for achieving a set of outcomes for a defined population over a period of time and at an agreed cost.
“As people live longer, biomedical knowledge expands and governments seek to ensure universal access to high-quality healthcare, it is increasingly clear that paying for individual healthcare activities or services neither reflect changing population health needs nor promote prevention-orientated, personalized care.
Current health financing systems, whether they are fee-for-service or individual budgets across agencies or departments, are generally not well-designed to encourage and sustain innovative approaches to achieve the best outcomes at the lowest cost for each person.”
Commenting on how Qatar legacy of promoting health and wellness in primary care can benefit other countries, he said “PHCC is leading the way globally with their primary care model under the leadership of Dr Mariam Abdulmalik. Lessons can be learnt from Qatar’s introduction of wellness clinics, population health measures, introduction of cancer screening programs and accountable care systems. Al Wakra SMART Diabetes Pilot where the care pathways were restructured to improve health outcomes is a great example of accountable care, this is a testament to Qatar’s legacy of promoting health and wellness. “
Recommendations at the conference included state level efforts to empower the role of Primary care, it was established that there is a required shift is towards collaborative, educational, family–centered care.
Further investment in Primary care Research, Solutions, and work collaboratively in coordination with Ministry of Education, Academic bodies and Health Sector regulators to identify and monitor health labor market needs enabling students equivalently to enroll according to the required majors.
The drive towards a patient centered care was also a priority, recommending a model of care oriented toward the patient and the community, identifying that bringing the services to the community should be the approach going forward. This follows on from the role of family medicine model to encourage prevention by promoting a healthy lifestyle in the community. Underlining that to reduce the burden of communicable disease and non-chronic disease, primary care professional team should be the first point of contact to individuals and families. To position the family medicine model as an essential and a key investment at Health System level to ensure cost efficiency, funds saving and good accessibility to patients. Further to this, for family medicine professionals to be granted similar packages as other specialists or consultants to attract more specialized workforce covering the sector and population needs.
Recommendations presented also drew on the significance of capacity building, Training & continuous medical education professional development and research, lighting that a culture where educational and team building is a focus will drive a transformation in primary care systems. As well as ensuring that quality assurance & accreditation is at the the heart of health care provider’s objectives.
Information Technology was also recommended as mandatory to service improvement; new initiatives will ensure system efficiency i.e. E-Health, Teleconsultation, etc.
Lastly, it was recommended that annual reporting at ministry level should have data across all providers that should allow for proper and continuous monitoring, data would also lead to proper planning outlining the focus. I.e. collecting data from identified data.
The above recommendations that emerged from the conference constitute an opportunity for the advancements of healthcare; it involves the healthcare experts at community, national, regional, local and global levels. Qatar already has erotizing to trigger immediate take-ups.