Sunday, February 26, 2006

Canada’s struggle for health care quality

The Institute of Medicine’s Quality Chasm report stresses that health care must be timely and patient centered. How’s Canada doing? They’re trying, but non-emergency health care there is anything but timely. Newly announced federal wait time benchmarks, hailed as a major improvement, are deemed inadequate by Canadian physician specialty groups according to this report in CMAJ. They include cancer irradiation within 4 weeks, hip fracture repair within 48 hours, hip and knee replacement within 6 months, cataract surgery within 4 months for high risk patients, and coronary artery bypass surgery in 2 to 6 weeks in high risk patients. And that’s considered improvement.

Worse, there’s a wait time for the improvements. Canada’s provinces were given 2 years to set implementation targets.

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