'Patients are seen as partners' in province-wide system, says new chief medical health officer
Dr. Susan Shaw's job is to provide direction and leadership to Sask.'s physician community
With the health regions newly amalgamated, Saskatchewan's health-care system is undergoing a big change — but Dr. Susan Shaw says it's for the better.
Shaw has been named chief medical officer of the Saskatchewan Health Authority — not to be confused with the provincial Ministry of Health's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.
There's been an overwhelming sense of optimism about what possibilities are in front of us.- Dr. Susan Shaw, chief medical officer of SHA
Shaw said her job is to provide direction and leadership to the physician community across the province.
"Now some could say that means I'm in charge of all the physicians, but actually what it's more about is working with the physicians and other providers in the health system to improve the quality of care," said Shaw, who also has a clinical practice in critical care medicine and anesthesiology.
Shaw said she doesn't expect patients to notice a difference immediately, but she does expect to see a improvement in the quality of care patients receive down the road.
"As we develop better partnerships and different ways of improving care, patients will start to notice that patients are seen as partners and they're seeing a better system that works together to support them."
The new province-wide health authority officially launched at the beginning of December, with the goal of improving patient care, but Scott Livingstone, CEO of the health region, described the change as a "multi-year journey."
A positive outlook
Shaw said the first year will be focused on setting up a system.
"What I want to see from a year from now is that we can see how we have gone through this transition to make improvements, that we've got stability, and we've got a strategy for getting us into the next three years and five years into the future."
So far, though, she said she's received very positive feedback about the move to a single health authority.
"There's been an overwhelming sense of optimism about what possibilities are in front of us and I'm really quite heartened by that. I've been very reassured by many messages of support."