As America tries to penalize doctors for the length of time it takes for a patient to get an appointment, Canada is also making some noise about “wait times”. This from an article from a Canadian site:
- Canadians lost about $1.1 billion last year while waiting for medically necessary health care, a new study from the Fraser Institute has found.
- The study looked at the average amount of time that each of the 928,000 or so Canadians lost last year while they waited for surgery or other care.
- It noted that the median waiting time between a patient seeing a specialist to actually having treatment was around 9.6 weeks in 2013. They focused on 12 medical specialties, including orthopaedic surgery, radiation oncology and cardiovascular surgery.
- The public policy think-tank says the estimate in its report — entitled “The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care” — is likely conservative, noting it only looked at costs borne by the patient waiting for treatment, not the costs of family members providing supportive care.
- But he says the negative impact of waiting on a patient’s ability to participate fully in life is often ignored in the health-care debate.
My take home points:
- Our insane drive to decrease wait times is a farce because it is driven by the insurance companies who wave money in the face of the hospitals (employers) but it rarely trickles down to the doctors
- The Canadian’s complaint about wait times is a farce because it is driven by the government who also give no real incentive for the doctors to improve
- The only way this country hits all these indicators is for doctors to practice the old-fashioned way; that being to eschew insurance and prove enough value for customers so they pull money out of their own pocket. This improves wait times. In fact, with Direct Primary Care, there are no wait times.