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Introducing the Choosing Wisely Canada Patient and Public Advisors

At the center of the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign are conversations between clinicians and patients. To deepen our efforts to ensure that patients and the public voices are heard in all aspects of the campaign, we are proud announce the new Patient and Public Advisor role.

As of January 1, 2018 the campaign welcomed Todd Sikorski and Amy Ma into this role. Todd and Amy respectively have deep experiences as patient advisors with their local community health provider organizations and are committed to applying their insights to all aspects of the campaign.

Patients as Partners

Since Choosing Wisely Canada launched in 2014, patient organizations and associations have been vital partners. These groups have provided inputs and insights in many ways, including participating in the development of national clinician society lists of recommendations and contributing to patient materials and tools, as well as participating in local implementation efforts. These organizations and associations have also helped to spread and share the campaign with their networks to raise awareness about the campaign, and spread the word among the Canadian public that more is not always better.

These partnerships with patient organizations and associations have been vital to the campaign but there was a recognition that as the campaign has grown, so too do our patient and public engagement efforts need to grow as well. To consider options for this, Choosing Wisely Canada partnered with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) to co-design the campaign’s patient and public engagement efforts. This took the form of a meeting ‘Choosing Wisely Together’, held in conjunction with the 2nd Choosing Wisely Canada National Meeting in Calgary, Alberta in February 2017. This meeting brought together 46 individuals from across Canada who are representatives of patient, clinician and other partner organizations. At the co-design meeting there was a resounding message from participants that the patient and public voice should be integrated into all campaign activities. To do this effectively, the Patient and Public Advisor role was shaped to foster a consistent and active patient voice as part of the central Choosing Wisely Canada team.

A Patient Voice at the Table

Choosing Wisely Canada is coordinated by a small team of staff based at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto and clinical leads who give a portion of their time to lead campaign activities. The Patient and Public Advisors are now part of the core team, and join regular team meetings. Patient and Public Advisors are not volunteers, but remunerated for their time to recognize their expertise and input as valued members of the team.

Todd Sikorski has been engaged with the campaign as a leader of the Joint Centres for Excellence Patient Advisory Committee, and at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario. Todd brings personal experiences as a parent to young children, as well as professional experience in business and finance to the campaign. Learn more about Todd here.

Amy Ma has been involved in the Montreal Children’s Hospital and McGill University Health Centre family advisory forum and patients committee. Personally, Amy brings her experiences as a parent and caregiver navigating the health care system along with an extensive background in governance and community engagement to the campaign. Learn more about Amy here.

Todd and Amy are vital to the ongoing advancement of the campaign. Choosing Wisely Canada is an open campaign, meaning that anyone can participate, and there are many ways to do so. You can start by having a conversation about why more is not always better with your health care provider. Patients and members of the public are vital partners in local and regional implementation efforts of the campaign from coast to coast.  To learn more about ways for you to get involved in the campaign email info@choosingwiselycanada.org.

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