Science & Tech

The Marie-Currie walk-in clinic on campus. Image: Bridget Coady/The Fulcrum
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Winning team or individual will receive $3,500 and publication support

On June 25, the University of Ottawa’s department of family medicine launched a contest calling on the U of O community to detail their vision of the clinic of the future. The department is looking for original ideas to improve and modernize the patients experience. 

“We’re looking for innovative ideas for enhancing the delivery of healthcare, people who have a passion or knowledge and creativity to build concepts that can address the needs of patients,” said Chad Chartrand, the department of family medicine’s communications manager. “We want models redefining the patient experience for the 21st century model of healthcare.”

Clare Liddy, the chair of the department of family medicine, has worked for over 25 years in family medicine. She says there are a lot of gaps in terms of how our current healthcare system delivers care. She points to issues with patient discharge and transitions, communication errors and long wait times on interminable waitlists for access to a family doctor. She says that a lot of these problems can be linked back to a root cause which is the lack of an established organized primary care system with family doctors at the forefront. 

“The traditional response is, well, we need to train more doctors, we need more family doctors to open up a clinical practice. If this town had more doctors then we wouldn’t have that problem,” said Liddy. 

But according to Liddy, society tends to always think in a very traditional model. Healthcare professionals always think about building another clinic, having more staff and having more team-based care, she says. 

“What I want to try to get to is what would it look like if we thought about different models instead of just trying to replicate the current model that we have? And what could it look like in the future?”

The goal of the contest is to collect interesting visions and ideas that could shape the future of family medicine. These visions and ideas could potentially help establish a much stronger foundation for primary health care not only in Ottawa but around the country. 

“This concept is to, within a university environment, throw out a contest, which is going to get people thinking and putting their ideas on paper, as it pertains to what the future model of family medicine is going to look like,” explained Liddy. 

Contestants can enter as individuals or as a team, the only requirement is that the individual or a single member of the team has a link to the University of Ottawa. This link can be as a student, professor, alumni or employee.

“In the university environment, there’s a lot of students and professors who are outside of the faculties of medicine, health sciences and engineering. [There are many] people in the community who we thought may have a lot of interesting ideas,” said Liddy. 

Three finalists will be chosen to present their vision to a VIP panel. The panel hasn’t been chosen yet but the department says it is looking for influential members in terms of public health in the region. The deadline for submitting an expression of Interest to participate in the contest is July 18. The winning team or individual will take home a $3,500 prize and receive publication support from the department.