There are just a few more weeks before Saskatchewan’s single health authority is launched.
The work has already begun since the government announced nearly a year ago that the 12 regional health authorities would be reduced to one.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority will be an official entity on Dec. 4, 2017.
But there is much work to do before then and likely in the months afterwards. That work will come with both opportunity and challenges.
Those challenges were all too real for Alberta when it made the same move eight years ago.
Those experiences were documented Wednesday at a provincial health summit held in Regina.
Two executives from Alberta told hundreds of health professional and leaders that communication is key to making the transition a smooth success.
Brenda Hubard, the vice-president and COO for southern and central Alberta, said the biggest item needed is to make “clinical information network a priority” so that patient information can be accessed across the province.
Saskatchewan is already part way there with the eHealth system.
Her colleague Sean Chilton, a nurse leader, said setting priorities is also vital.
“Creating one health care entity allowed us to break down those geographical barriers and to actually start the conversation with a common goal and a common vision and direction,” Chilton explained.
The two cited examples of the positives that come from moving to a single health authority. Chilton said a mistake is often seen as rare because it is isolated in separate health regions. In one system those mistakes become a pattern which can be highlighted and addressed quicker.
Chilton also pointed to wait times for cancer radiation because of all the patients that had to travel hours to Calgary and Edmonton.
With over $600 million in administrative savings, that money could be transferred to allow for treatment in regional centres and reducing patient wait times.
The chair of the new provincial health authority, Dick Carter, was at the meeting and said there was a lot to move as Saskatchewan makes this transition.