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Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians    by Danielle Martin order for
Better Now
by Danielle Martin
Order:  USA  Can
Allen Lane, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Dr. Danielle Martin warns, in Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians that primary care access is the Achilles heel of Canada's healthcare system. She emphasizes the importance of relationship based primary care, and the high cost when it is lacking. She warns of too many costly tests and treatments that don't improve health, and in some cases damage it.

There are too many healthcare silos that don't communicate with each other, increasing costs (in particular because of chronic care patients cycling in and out of emergency departments) and reducing quality of treatments. Martin emphasizes the importance of collecting and using data to improve performance, and of information technology to connect healthcare silos. She presents her ideas from the varying perspectives of health care professional, patient, and the health care system, giving relevant real life examples.

Her 'Six Big Ideas' are:

Ensure every Canadian has regular access to a family doctor or other primary care provider
Bring prescription drugs under medicare
Reduce unnecessary tests and interventions
Reorganize health care delivery to reduce wait times and improve quality
Implement a basic income guarantee to alleviate poverty, which is a major threat to health

Roy Romanow, former Royal Commissioner on the Future of Health Care in Canada, says of this book, 'Dr. Danielle Martin has written an outstandingly useful book, for all Canadians, as the nation once again faces the challenges of ensuring effective health care for all. In doing so, Dr. Martin avoids the easy formulae of blanket solutions and properly roots health care's future success in making hard choices on delivery, scope, and structure, based on Canadian values.'

I highly recommend this very accessible volume to anyone interested in the future of health care, in Canada or elsewhere.

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