OTTAWA, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Healthcare in Canada, delivered via a publicly funded system, is mostly free, but many people don't know how to access it, a researcher says.
An editorial in Canadian Medical Association Journal said the main challenge to providing patient-centered healthcare in Canada is educating people about the system.
While many healthcare resources that could benefit people are available in Canada, many people are unaware of them, the editorial said.
"Even a perfect system won't work if patients don't know how to access it effectively," Dr. Matthew Stanbrook, deputy editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and colleagues wrote.
"Also, our failure to help patients adequately understand their disease and its treatment underlies much of the sub-optimal adherence to treatment that leads to otherwise preventable outcomes. We must empower people to become the solution to achieving their own optimal health by enabling them to connect effectively not only to the system but also to other resources around them, including family and community."
Education is key to empowering patients and could include high school courses on how to be effective health consumers as well as community education programs focused on life stages such as pregnancy, parenthood, retirement and caregiving.