The Future Of Canada’s Healthcare System
News For a long time Canadians have taken pride in knowing that they have one of the best healthcare systems in the world.
Recent studies indicate that the Canadian healthcare system is closer to the middle of the road rather than the top of the pile. It would seem our health care system is in need of a tune-up.
"The rising cost of administration means the healthcare system must figure out ways to become more efficient. It must devise new methods and pioneer new technologies that can update our healthcare system to a higher standard."
Areas of improvement
There are many areas for improvement from information management, to hiring specialists with intimate areas of expertise; and there are a number of factors weighing down on our overburdened system right now. The aging baby boomer population puts a heavy strain on the healthcare system, increasing the need for quality seniors’ care. Modern chronic illness management demands a wider range of services from acute care to home treatments, and this requires greater coordination across healthcare centres.
The rising cost of administration means the healthcare system must figure out ways to become more efficient. It must devise new methods and pioneer new technologies that can update our healthcare system to a higher standard. Patients today want to see more self-care options, greater transparency and shorter wait times. The way to get there is in upgrading the infrastructure in place.
“At a given community hospital you have 50,000 to 60,000 visits per year. Every single person that comes in, there is information associated with that visit.”
The challenge of data management
The quality of care that hospitals deliver has already been improving thanks to the wealth of data available today and an increasing understanding of diseases and their cures. We’re on the right track but there are still challenges to overcome.
“The rate at which data is growing is exponentially faster than the people we have to understand it,” says Ian Moore, analyst and systems designer with MetricAid Inc, an IT company with a mandate of developing technologies that reduce patient wait times.
Future impact on the healthcare system
- There has been an estimated 46 percent increase in in-hospital procedures to treat liver cancer.
- Over a four-year period, in-hospital costs for liver disease patients totaled more than $157 million.
- Fatty liver disease is expected to overtake viral hepatitis as the contributing cause of end-stage liver disease.
- An estimated 5,000 people die of liver-related deaths each year.
“We have all these beautiful technologies that are focused on how the data is stored, how the information gets to the users, how the information is passed from various institutions, but the problem is not many people know how to glean any insight from that,” says Moore.
Electronic health records are a key enabler in moving the healthcare system forward if only we can understand, organize and utilize the vast scores of data out there. Doing this effectively would result in better quality care across all aspects of the system, reducing wait times, improving disease management and assuring a more efficient system across all platforms.
How to move forward
The barriers towards getting there is in incentivizing the right players in industry and the government. There are a lot of IT companies creating technologies and services that will lift our healthcare system up to the coveted No. 1 spot in the world, but we must be committed to making those technologies come to life and implementing them across the entire healthcare continuum.
Data management is the main area of improvement. To bring the healthcare systems up to 21st century standards, we need to fully digitize our information and integrate all hospital systems in a seamless network.
“At a given community hospital you have 50,000 to 60,000 visits per year. Every single person that comes in, there is information associated with that visit,” says Moore. “Anything information related is supported by these systems.”
The systems of the future must be easy to use and reliable because a shut down can be disastrous. There must be a stable system in place to handle the massive amounts of patient data, and it must be highly searchable and intuitive. Much can be achieved with the scores of patient data we have. The future lies in using that data to improve patient care, boost efficiency, and reduce readmissions.
Stats by: Canadian Liver Foundation