Friday, October 28, 2011

Focus on Quality Care and the Efficiency will Follow

In healthcare, there's much talk about the "sustainability of the system" - the system of providing health care services. There's a prevailing attitude that the health system is not sustainable. Typically, most of the conversation focuses on the cost of providing health services and how growth in those costs are what is not sustainable.

I frequently question the 'sustainability' of the Canadian health care system (and more usually as it exists in BC) - and I do not think it is sustainable, but not because of 'cost' aspects. Rather, I think its unsustainable because of the investments that haven't been made, the costs that have not been incurred and should be.

It is not sustainable to have health care providers who do not have the tools and resources to do their jobs and do them well.

It is not sustainable to have a health care system that delays and denies access to care that is deemed appropriate by health professionals and their patients.

It is not sustainable to focus on a narrow range of acute services and ignore a broad range of preventative care.

It is not sustainable to put 'cheap care' ahead of 'quality care'.

Lastly, when thinking about whether or not the system is 'sustainable', it is not sustainable to exclude patients from the conversation.

I sometimes think if there was a fundamental shift - away from 'cost consciousness' towards 'quality consciousness' that the healthcare system would move much more expeditiously towards a more efficient and effective system. It should be about delivering the best care and generating the best health outcomes in the way that makes the most sense.

But it seems for now we're stuck...but not sustainably so.

1 comment:

  1. Quality consciousness - I am not sure if I understand.

    Breast cancer (for instance).

    Mammograms are part of the routine screening. Ultrasounds are not. Sometimes mammograms do not pick up cancer (but an ultrasound would). If we are thinking about screening one woman extremely well, we should be doing mammograms and ultrasounds. However, the cost would increase. And how many women would be double screened for nothing? How many women would be saved? And how long would we be able to offer this until all the money ran out and we could no longer offer free screening for breast cancer?

    Canadian healthcare is changing. They are trying to keep it as basic as possible. No bells & whistles. Unfortunately they do not have any better options for those willing to pay for it.