If everything can be fixed with a magic pill, then it would be simple to have sustainable health care. But life is never this simple, neither is health care. As I look at the four ingredients shared by Federal Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott for a sustainable health care, I can’t help but think that all of us need to be part of the equation here – that individually and collectively, we need to be responsible and accountable for our own health to achieve sustainable health care.

According to Dr. Jane Philpott, the four ingredients for sustainable health care are to:

  1. Priortize social determinants of health
  2. Uphold the Canada Health Act
  3. Strengthen primary care including home care
  4. Build systems centered on patients


Fundamentally, the four ingredients are important. But we can have to greatest advancement of digital health or a fabulous network and resources for primary care and home care but if we are always looking at a high demand of health care resources from the consumers in the community, it will never sustain. We can’t feed ourselves with unhealthy food, continue to ignore the stressful and fast pace lifestyle that we all live in and expect to show up at a doctor’s office one day or emergency room to fix everything with one visit, or one pill, or one intervention. It requires effort from us all to take care of ourselves. Health is precious and everyone needs to be accountable and responsible.  When I say we all need to take care of ourselves, I mean we all need to properly nourish our bodies with proper nutrition, allow time to exercise, address our mental health issues and connect with the community and provide support for those who are around us in whatever way possible.

Perhaps a fancy way of saying all these is to that everyone should do his or her part to engage in Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Otherwise, no matter how we restructure our system, develop different strategies to minimize costs, or build new innovations in our health care system, it will never be sustainable  – not if we don’t do our parts, individually and collectively.