Horizon, Vitalité must improve collaboration, council says

New Brunswick’s health watchdog agency says the province’s two regional health authorities are working together more effectively, but there's still more to be done.

New Brunswick Health Council says collaboration will be better for patient care

New Brunswick’s health watchdog agency says the province’s two regional health authorities must continue to find ways to work together more effectively.

Last year, Health Minister Ted Flemming asked the Horizon and Vitalité health networks to collaborate more often.        

Flemming appointed two officials working on health renewal in his department as the new chief executive officers of the two health networks as a further step to ensure greater collaboration.

The New Brunswick Health Council's recent report card on diabetes programs included a surprising fact considering the push for more sharing between the two health authorities.

A clinic in Moncton that comes under one health authority couldn't access records of patients from the other health authority.

"It's generated a lot of discussions in the zone among reps of both RHAs," said Stephane Robichaud, the president of the health council.

At the Moncton clinic, Robichaud said the recent arrival of electronic health records solved the problem.

But he said there are other areas where the two networks can eliminate overlap.

"Financially, it would mean less costly [health care], but even more importantly for citizens, it is actually better care,” he said.

The ability of the two health authorities to commit to greater integration is important for patients, according to Robichaud.

"There is much opportunity for collaboration among the RHAs because the reality is, as a patient, you will be required, especially if you need a bit of specialty care, you are required to move often between both RHAs,” he said.

Robichaud said it's taking time because the system is still based on the idea of individual hospitals rather than a single, efficient provincial system.