Imagine being told you need medical treatment but must wait more than two months before you can receive it. This is the case for more than 900,000 Canadian patients. While some can withstand waiting for medical care, others are in considerable physical pain and mental stress.
It’s evident treating disease early prevents patient suffering and ultimately saves lives, but what often goes unnoticed is the negative impact endured by the Canadian economy due to long wait times. Studies show patients experience a loss of productivity and income when they are forced to wait for treatment. Not to mention disease progression during these waits can call for more complex and ironically more expensive treatments as a result of the patient’s health deterioration. Cumulatively this results in billions of dollars lost for the economy.
However, patient-centered care is quickly becoming a top trend in the industry, and with this comes the opportunity to find solutions to lessen wait times in the Canadian healthcare system. Like any industry, the healthcare system has a natural resistance to change, but individuals should note it’s important to ask institutions about regional wait list management programs, and if eReferrals or eConsults might be available resources to them. And if not – why not?