Patient wait time defines quality benchmarks and is used to evaluate the responsiveness of Canadian healthcare service providers. The patient wait time characteristic is used to examine patients flow in healthcare facilities, as well as evaluate the operational efficiency of the healthcare system. The patient wait time is longer in Canada creating varied consequences and inconvenience.
Patients’ wait time is a significant issue in the Canadian healthcare system. According to Fraser Institute (2019) report, patients wait for 20.9 weeks before seeing a primary care provider or receiving treatment from a specialist. Wait time varies across provinces. The report shows patients in Ontario province wait for 16 weeks while those in Prince Edward Island wait for 49.3 weeks (Fraser Institute, 2019). Besides, wait time varies depending on the healthcare service sought by a patient. Per Fraser Institute (2019) report, patients wait for 39.1 weeks to undergo orthopedic surgery and 4.4 weeks to receive treatment for medical oncology. Indeed, the Canadian healthcare system is ailing from long patient wait times (Thompson, 2015). The data presented shows that the responsiveness and efficiency of the Canadian healthcare system are affected by long patient wait times.
Prolonged wait times for medically necessary treatments have significant consequences and inconvenience to patients and the economy. Long wait times lead to prolonged pain and suffering, as well as mental misery (McMullen & Netland, 2013). Long wait times also result in poor healthcare outcomes potentially making patients develop chronic illnesses from previous reversible diseases. In some cases, reversible illnesses can transform into permanent disabilities if patients wait longer to receive the medical intervention (McMullen & Netland, 2013). Economically, patients may have to forgo their wages as they wait for treatment schedules and intervention. This results in economic loss to individuals and the Canadian economy.
Patient wait time is a problem in Canada as patients have to wait for long periods to consult a physician or receive treatment. Prolonged wait time leads to a progression of reversible illness into chronic diseases or lifelong disability. Likewise, prolonged wait time leads to an increase in pain, suffering, and misery. Patients and the economy equally suffer from lost revenues as some sick people forgo wages as they wait for treatment.
Fraser Institute. (2019). Waiting your turn: Wait times for health care in Canada, 2019 report. Fraser Institute. Retrieved from https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/waiting-your-turn-wait-times-for-health-care-in-canada-2019#:~:text=The%20total%20wait%20time%20that,when%20it%20was%203.7%20weeks.
McMullen, M., & Netland, P. (2013). Wait time as a driver of overall patient satisfaction in an ophthalmology clinic. Clinical Ophthalmology, 7, 1655–1660.
Thompson, V. (2015). Health and health care delivery in Canada, Second Edition. Vancouver: Elsevier. ISBN: 978-1-927406-31-1.