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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Necessity breeds innovation: Shooting the wait times video series at “The Taming of the Queue 2013”

Waiting can be tough but it’s a fact of life and something we all deal with. It is one thing to wait in line at the coffee shop or for the new iPhone release, and quite another to wait for health care. Waiting to see your family physician for a checkup; waiting to be seen in the emergency room; or being on a wait list for surgery, are all things Canadians experience daily.

In Canada, longer than normal wait times pervade our health care system and physicians, policy makers and other health experts agree that we need to take action.

That’s what some leading organizations and provinces are doing. Starting in late spring, the Health Council will be releasing a video series on wait times in Canada.

In preparation for this series, I was in Ottawa late last month to shoot footage of the Taming of the Queue conference. My colleague, Media Specialist Terry Glecoff and I were on hand to gather interviews from conference participants. We captured a variety of insights on the issue and responses to the complex question: why do we wait?

Dr. Tom Noseworthy of Alberta Health Services responds to questions posed by Media Specialist Terry Glecoff

One of our subjects, Dr. Tom Noseworthy, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Strategic Clinical Networks & Clinical Care Pathways for Alberta Health Services, put it as such:

“In a universal health care system where everybody is included, they are usually challenged by access – getting people in – when people are not all included it’s easier to achieve access. But we have long wait times in Canada, and we need to retool the system to make it better. So we’ve got it right on the inclusion side with universality. We don’t have it right on waiting times.”

The Canadian Medical Association's Stephen Vail with Ari Grief, Project Lead for our upcoming wait times video series

In addition to shooting footage, I had the opportunity to talk to health leaders about their views on wait times. My main takeaway from the conference is that there are numerous innovative practices working to reduce wait times around Canada in a variety of settings – it’s just a matter of spreading the word to other jurisdictions across the country. 

Along with Dr. Noseworthy’s interview, we captured a range of different perspectives on wait times. These insights will be revealed together with innovative practices that are working to reduce wait times in our upcoming video series.

Stay tuned.

By Ari Grief, Bilingual Communications Specialist/Project Lead Wait Times in Canada Video series.

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