McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster researcher informs national report on Canadian health system reform

By Amanda Boundris
Published: June 29, 2012
Gina Browne
Gina Browne, a professor in the School of Nursing and the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

A new report by McMaster University researcher Gina Browne strongly influenced the Canadian Nurses Association's (CNA) National Expert Commission's final report and recommendations on changes needed to Canada's health care system.

Browne is a professor in McMaster's School of Nursing and Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as well as director of the Health and Social Service Utilization Research Unit. She is lead author of the research report entitled Better Care: An Analysis of Nursing and Healthcare System Outcomes.

The report, funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF), was released in late June at a CNA conference where Browne was also the keynote speaker.

The study was a review of nursing intervention literature to compare the effects and costs of models of nursing care on patient and health system outcomes related to chronic disease management, home care, community care, primary care and mental health settings.

Key points in the report

  • Canada's federally funded health care system has been driven principally by insured physicians and hospitals providing acute and episodic care that is a poor match to the changing demographics of people with chronic disease living longer. The current health system consumes nearly one-half of provincial budgets.
  • Models of proactive, targeted nurse-led care that focus on preventive patient self-management for people with chronic disease are either more effective and equally or less costly, or are equally effective and less costly than the usual model of care.
Browne's paper informed A Nursing Call to Action, a report from the CNA's National Expert Commission released in mid-June.

Last year the CNA established the independent commission, made up of leaders in nursing, medicine, business, law, academia, economics and health care policy, to "discover the most efficient, effective and sustainable ways to meet the changing and pressing health needs of Canadians in the 21st century."

The commission's report suggests a fundamental shift in how health and health care is funded, managed and delivered in Canada.

It states: "Using nurses more effectively is key to a transformed system that will better balance acute care with primary care that is patient-centred, holistic, and offers many more services in communities and patients' homes. We know this approach to care delivery is what will most effectively meet the changed health and wellness needs of Canadians in the decades ahead."

Browne said she hopes the commission's report "helps ministers of health in their determination to examine models of care best suited for those with multiple morbidities," like high blood pressure and diabetes, for example.

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