Province introduces new surgical wait time website
A new surgical wait times website – the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada – will give patients the tools to make more informed decisions about their surgery waits, while helping to reduce overall wait times, said Minister of Health Services Kevin Falcon. “We’ve been recognized by groups like the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Wait Times Alliance as leaders in Canada in reducing surgical waits for key priority areas,” said Falcon. “The new wait times website will build on our success, giving patients more control over their surgical options by letting them see and compare surgery wait times from every hospital across British Columbia.” Surgical waits vary in every community and health authority in the province. The information found on the website encourages patients to discuss their waits with their general practitioner, who can help them decide if there’s a faster or more appropriate treatment available. The website uses information gathered in the new Surgical Patient Registry, a provincial database that captures comprehensive, up-to-date information on all patients waiting for elective surgeries in B.C. The new database and website also allow health authorities and the Province to pinpoint where the longer waits are, in order to make better decisions about funding and surgical resource allocation. “The new wait times website and Surgical Patient Registry are innovations in the health-care system, which will help us identify key surgical areas we need to focus on,” added Falcon. “Innovations like this and our recent $23.4-million commitment to patient-focused funding will allow us to continue to lead the country in reducing wait times.” Designed to be more interactive and easier to use, the new website allows the public to search using a body image, a map of the province or a dropdown menu. It is more comprehensive than the previous wait time site, which reported only information from larger facilities that performed more than 1,000 surgeries each year, leaving out smaller, regional facilities. With the new site, the public can search through 80 adult elective surgical groups performed at any public facility, by any surgeon in any part of the province. This new site gives British Columbians access to more surgical procedures and more information than any other provincial surgical wait times site in Canada. “This new website will allow physicians to work collaboratively with their patients and ensure that they get the most timely, appropriate surgical care possible,” said Dr. Andy Hamilton, co-chair of the Provincial Surgical Advisory Council and Program Medical Director of Surgical Services from Interior Health. “The data from this site is more accurate than ever before and will help physicians prioritize our patients more appropriately.” Each night, hospitals across the province send updated wait list information to the Surgical Patient Registry database and the website is updated monthly with the new data. This allows more timely information for the public, health authorities, government and doctors to make decisions about surgery waits. The information in the Surgical Patient Registry will help the government, health authorities and surgeons prioritize resources to become more efficient. Reports prepared by the Surgical Patient Registry for health authorities and surgeons will flag lengthening wait lists, as well as people who have waited the longest or who are in the greatest need. The wait times website is part of British Columbia’s comprehensive strategy to improve surgical access and reduce wait times through efficiencies and innovations. According to the report ‘Wait Times Tables – A Comparison by Province, 2010’ by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, B.C. leads Canada in exceeding the benchmarks for all priority areas: cancer treatment, cardiac care, sight restoration and joint replacement. That report echoed the 2009 Wait Times Alliance report, in which only B.C. and Ontario received an A in every category – radiology, hip, knees, cardiac and sight – when it came to meeting wait times benchmarks. The Surgical Patient Registry and new wait times website was developed by the Ministry of Health Services, health authorities and surgeons as a key innovation in our provincial wait times management strategy and the eHealth strategy. It gives patients access to safer, higher-quality services through the timely availability of their health information, and it gives care providers correct and necessary information to review and manage their wait lists efficiently.
Visit www.health.gov.bc.ca/waitlist for more information.