Archive for the ‘Wait Times’ Category

ImageIt has been a pet peeve of mine for a number of years of the terrible emergency care mostly due to my personal experience of a cancer patient and observing the long waits. This prompted me to sponsor a symposium on emergency care based on process design with the people who are the best with Terri Zborowski and team at  Ellerbe Becket AECOM and Dr Todd Warden, a leading ER specialist from the US who amazing with his expertise brings the wait time down to 9 min.

What was there not to be impressed? We had eight Ontario hospitals participate and some who could not attend attend due to timing conflicts received a package. The bittersweet irony was that Ontario Long Term Care called and stated great idea but because it is free we just “don’t know what to do”. Despite the setback I continued to contact physicians across Canada and sent the info package.

Well, something must have worked because my wait time in the Toronto General Hospital or better known as TGH was only 30 mins and I was sent directly to a room. The waiting room was even clean and I noted it was divided into two sections of triage those registered and those waiting to be registered.

I was pleased with the prompt care, diagnosis and treatment. The staff did not appear hurried although one nurse thought I was a renal transplant without checking my ID band and the ER physician, Dr Salmon who was professional was running out the door when I tried to ask a question. This is one reason why I like to pay directly for care at the Mayo because then there is more of a customer patient service. This caused some problems when the pharmacist had to call back the doctor to clarify a medication as it was contraindicated as an allergy on my alert. I hate clogging up the system.

I had to chuckle when I heard a nurse in the next room telling the patient  to order pan medication because she is paying for it anyway through OHIP- it is free. So don’t hold back.

I was impressed when I left the ER well under 8 hours with my prescription in hand to see a room off to one side with big words, “Rapid Assessment” and that helped eased the clogging with triage. I am sure this was part of our input from the symposium as our diagrams clearly indicate this process, although I never knew until I was again, the patient who is the real test.


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My main focus is to find innovative information that will help you make informed medical decisions for you, your family and anyone you feel would benefit.

Knowledge is in fact power.

I have read how many Canadians have jumped the waiting time by getting first class treatment in places such as India and Thailand for operations that would take at least 6 months to see a specialist and then another year for surgery. This is termed Medical tourism (also called medical travel, health tourism or global healthcare) to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling across international borders to obtain healthcare. Not only is it a shorter waiting period, but the cost for cardiac surgeries is much lower around US$5,000-US$7,000 versus  up to US$50,000 in the US. In Canada the main driver would be the wait times.

Dr. Devi Shetty, cardiologist is making cardiac surgeries accessible influenced by Mother Theresa. http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/india/article.cfm?articleid=4493

The Mayo Clinic in the USA known for first class patient service, research and staff notes Canadians top their international patients list.


Canadian Janis Ollson gets life saving surgery to have cancer removed and cut in half at the Mayo Clinic

So why when you mention Canadian healthcare it is such a hot topic with heated debate because unless you have experienced or know of someone who is unable to access timely diagnosis and treatment, we think don’t fix it.

Lets look at some recent research numbers. The Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank  is “to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals.”

  • An estimated 44,794 Canadian in total received treatment outside Canada in 2010.
  • This is a notable increase from the 41,006 Canadians estimated to have received treatment outside Canada in 2009.
  • The national increase in the estimated number of patients treated outside Canada occurred at the same time as a national increase in the median wait time for medically necessary treatment — specifically, the national median wait time for treatment after consultation with a specialist was 8.0 weeks in 2009 and 9.3 weeks in 2010.
This estimate likely underestimates the actual number of patients who received treatment outside the country in 2010, says Esmail.
 Source: Nadeem Esmail, “Leaving Canada for Medical Care,” Fraser Institute, March/April 2011.
 For  text:
When I say it is cheaper to learn from the best, then to make mistakes.
Bottom line you cannot afford to make mistakes with your life because you only have one chance.
Be informed and share the knowledge to save lives.

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