Experiencing a medical emergency is an incredibly stressful experience for patients and their families. This stress should not be compounded by worries about getting an ambulance bill they can't afford. As physicians, we know the importance of the first few minutes of an emergency situation, and the crucial role of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in saving lives. And yet ambulance fees remain a significant barrier to people receiving necessary care across Canada.
A federal election could be called any time in the next few months, judging by the media coverage and the ramping up of political activity. Many issues have been crowding into the media headlines in anticipation of the election -- but with a notable absence of any consideration of healthcare by our political parties. Apparently the subject is still on the minds of the electorate though, at least amongst my own circle of friends, colleagues and neighbours, many of whom note the leading edge of our baby-boomers have now turned 65.
In a public healthcare system, too often system failures end up as fodder for Question Period battles rather than impetus for learning. When investments have been made in new models of health service funding and delivery that don't work out, it can be difficult to proclaim failure as a means to move toward success.
The continuum of patient-centred care could include a consistency of health care professionals familiar with a patient's case and who are buttressed by the flow of relevant patient history and investigations. Patient centredness by the professional care-giver would target care, communication and common ground or a shared understanding between those receiving the care and those providing it.
The dismal record of for-profit hospitals illustrates the problem with running hospitals as businesses. The for-profits have higher death rates and employ fewer clinical personnel like nurses than their non-profit counterparts. But care at for-profits actually costs more, and they spend much more on the bureaucracy, a reflection of the high cost of implementing shrewd financial strategies. Canadian hospital administrators don't have to play financial games to assure their survival.
While policy should be evidence-informed rather than belief-based, the complexity of health-system change makes it difficult to draw a straight line from one evidence-based improvement to health-system change as a whole. Improving the quality and quantity of evidence-based decision-making is perhaps the greatest challenge in systematically devising policies for bending the cost curve.
Last fall when I visited Canada, I met a Toronto doctor named Gary Bloch who has developed a poverty tool for medical practitioners. Bloch's idea was to zoom in on the social determinants of health -- food, housing, transportation -- all poverty markers linked to bad health and poor health outcomes.
In the wake of new health expenditure data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the evidence continues to mount that Canadian public health expenditure growth is moderating. Moreover, adjusting for inflation and population growth, per capita provincial and territorial government health expenditures have actually declined since their peak in 2010.
Providing effective communication is critical to ensuring health care workers feel informed and safe at work. Nursing union representatives have clearly expressed that nurses do not feel prepared for Ebola in their hospitals. Media stories have documented how personal protective equipment and training for front line health workers hasn't been available in all hospital locations across the country.
A recent court challenge before the British Columbia Supreme Court threatened to change the rules of the game for the Canadian healthcare system -- should the challenge have made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada and found success there. How our health system should be reformed, and in what measures, is nothing short of a national pastime in Canada. Too bad many get the facts wrong. Here are a few basics everyone should know.
It seems there is a disconnect between Canadians' personal views and their idea of how well the health system works for society at large. Canadians tout the public health care model as a big part of our national identity, say their experiences are mostly positive -- but then worry the system is failing.
A 2013 EKOS poll showed that 78 per cent of Canadians are in favour of establishing a universal pharmacare program in Canada. In spite of self-serving lobby groups who insist that the current system is working well and should not be reformed, establishing a national drug plan is the best thing to do for patients, for employers, for employees, for taxpayers, and for the Canadian economy.
Scientific and technological developments mean that people with complex health problems are living longer, with a better quality of life. If we want to maintain this quality of life, we have to bank on the contributions and expertise of all our nurses. I can already hear our detractors saying, "You're doing that so as to demand more pay for nurses!"
WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is warning about false offers of employment being emailed to nurses and health-care workers in the P...
Hip and knee replacements constitute a billion dollar industry. But why is it that we don't monitor the quality of our goods the same way the automotive industry does? Canada needs to adopt a series of measures to maintain records, and improve not only product quality, but customer satisfaction as well.