Public gets a better look at Health PEI strategic plan at AGM

Health P.E.I. has a new strategic plan to take the organisation and healthcare on P.E.I. into 2020.

Mental health and addictions flagged as a top priority

The plan has been in the system since April 2017. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

Health PEI has a new strategic plan to take the organization and healthcare in the province into 2020.

The plan has been in place since April 2017, but the public got a better look at it at the annual general meeting (AGM) held Thursday night in Summerside.

There are three main objectives to the plan: quality and safety, access and coordination and innovation and efficiency. 

Here are some of the highlights. 

Mental Health a Priority

Under the access umbrella, mental health and addictions was named as one of the main priorities and one of the plans is to roll out a new day treatment program for adults.

Denise Lewis Fleming, acting CEO for Health PEI, said the organization is proud of the work its done for youth, like the insight and strength programs. 

However, she added, "one of the areas we really feel we need to advance is the adult."

The new program will take inspiration from the insight program, but be catered for adults.

The public got a better look at the plan at the AGM Thursday night. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

"I can't disclose right now what that design is going to be looking like but there's committees within the mental health and addictions staff that are actually looking at what that program will look like," Lewis Fleming said. 

"That's also why we are encouraging people to reach out, if they're willing to be patient-family advisors, because we want to include P.E.I. residents in designing those programs."

Patient registry revamp 

Lewis Fleming said Health PEI knows there are issues for Islanders trying to get a primary care physician — one of the issues being the patient registry. 

"We want to redesign the patient registry and make it more effective for people in order to connect them with primary care providers," she said 

Lewis Fleming said Health PEI is looking at the redesign "from the ground up" and not bind the organization on what's been designed before.

"It was designed in a previous era," she added.

"Now things have changed, we're looking forward to the future, so how do we design it to meet our needs going forward."

Chronic illness 

The report pointed to the fact that P.E.I has higher rates than the national average in two big diseases: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a lung disease — and diabetes.

This, she said, puts pressure on the health care system if patients are constantly having to go to hospital.

In the new strategic plan, there is a focus to prevent that from happening, Lewis Fleming added.

"One of the pieces that we're looking to expand on is our remote patients monitoring program — that's for people with COPD — and it allows them to keep a closer eye on their health and not, what we call, deteriorate," she said.

"[The patient will] start to recognize the signs when they might need to reach out and have their medication adjusted, rather than waiting until they get in such a state that they have to go to the emergency department."

Acting CEO Denise Lewis Fleming says the Health PEI has developed a few ways to check in on the actions, including regular AGMs. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

And in those emergency departments, decreasing wait times is also a priority.

Under the innovation and efficiency banner, there is a plan to expand the staffing compliment in the ER to include nurse practicers or social workers. 

"We do see people coming to the emergency department that they might not truly have urgent or emergent conditions that need to be treated but they need other types of support or access," Lewis Fleming said.

"They might not know how to access services, for example, in the family and human services department. It ties to the social determinates of health, and so social workers can help connect people with that." 

She said they are also looking at ways to better connect people from the ER to walk-ins or primary care providers.

A full version of the report can be found online.


Natalia Goodwin

Video Journalist

Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.