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Learn about the professionals in charge of your care

(NC) As health care becomes more complex in its ability to offer more services, there is likely to be an increase in the number of professionals involved in your care. To build trust in this team, it's never too early to learn about the role and training required for each one.

When the Conference Board of Canada held a summit on health care, one of the issues discussed was that patients want access to seamless services and this would include the right combination of health care professionals working to meet their physical and emotional needs.

“With increasing collaborations in this field, it's important for patients to know just who is on their health care team so they can trust the expertise of each member,” says Linda Gough, president of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (FHRCO).

FHRCO includes 26 regulatory colleges (www.regulatedhealthprofessions.on.ca), which include nearly 300,000 member professionals. The colleges set requirements for entering the professions, run quality assurance programs, and hold the professionals accountable for their conduct and practice.

From doctors to dietitians, and physiotherapists to pharmacists, no matter the makeup of the health care team, the professional standards required by the colleges should give people confidence in the high level of skills and judgment across the spectrum.

Partnerships that lead to the best possible care aren't just a priority for patients. The colleges also work to encourage such professional collaboration. Just as team members work together productively, the colleges also often exchange information and develop joint policies that support quality care.

Given the number of players on the health care team, FHRCO reminds that the public should learn more about them. “As an informed health care consumer, you have the right to know the title, role and specialty of every professional working with you,” says Gough.

Closer interprofessional teams are a rising force in health care because of the improved results. For instance, Statistics Canada reports that patients with access to primary health care teams are more likely to receive health promotion, disease prevention, and better coordination of care.

“When members of the regulated professions communicate and work well together, bringing their distinct contributions, that leads to better outcomes for people,” says FHRCO's Gough.

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