Why Visitors to Canada's Windsor Casino and England's Windsor Castle are Gambling with a Common Health Problem

On the face of it, the people of Windsor, Ontario share little in common with the residents of Windsor, England; one place boasts a red blooded gambling and hotel complex, the other has a quieter form of action, the opportunity to admire the ancient royal castle, home of the blue blooded Queen of England.

However, health care experts in both England and Canada have determined that the populations of both Windsor’s share a common problem; they are gambling with their lives.

This danger has led to a new partnership between the leaders in health care in both Canada and England, which may result in nothing short of a revolution in the way health care systems operate on both sides of the Atlantic. The partnership was announced recently between the Ivey Health Innovation Institute of London, Ontario and the National Association of Primary Care located in another city of the same name, London, England. 

The challenge is to move health care into the community and to focus on wellness, following the old maxim that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In practice this means establishing new outlets for advice at primary care facilities, weight loss, rehabilitation and smoking cessation clinics, fitness centers, pharmacies and even perhaps supermarkets.

“Hospitals will have to be reserved for the really sick who need specialized care,” said one doctor in Windsor, Ontario.  “This can only happen if we find new ways at low cost –in a community environment- to motivate people to adopt healthier lifestyles- for example to quit smoking and to watch their weight”. 

This doctor believes wellness clinics where people become used to regular health checks are key to lowering costs. He points out that cardiovascular disease is the number one target because it is the biggest single killer of men and women worldwide. “It is also involved in most long term conditions such as diabetes, inflammatory diseases and chronic kidney disease. For example, eighty percent of deaths among people with chronic kidney disease are from heart attacks and strokes. So heart advice that motivates people to change their lifestyles is key.”

In 2015, the planners in both London’s expect to establish trials in both Windsor’s to show their governments how health care in the community can lower costs and improve outcomes. Everist Health will be collaborating to running trials in both countries. The company expects to demonstrate the value of  using an easy to operate, low cost method of measuring a person’s arterial fitness to produce a score that can be translated into one easy- to- understand number –the persons heart age. That number has been shown in one large scale clinical trial to motivate changes in lifestyle and in life expectancy.

The gamblers at Caesars Coliseum in Windsor may find it challenging to beat the odds at the slot machines but in the years ahead they may get much better odds at living longer healthier lives at their local neighborhood wellness center.

For more information, check out The National Association of Primary Care website: www.napc.co.uk
For a recent NAPC press release, visit: www.napc.co.uk/news
For a recent report of the NAPC Practice Innovation Network go to: www.napc.co.uk/review, http://www.napc.co.uk/news
For information on Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation go to: www.ivey.ca/healthInnovation/
For regular health news updates, check out: www.everisthealth.com

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