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We're overdue for out-of-the-box thinking

Re: These experts say there are solutions to Ontario's huge health-care backlog that go outside the norm
CBC News online Jan. 31, 2022

We agree that we need to start thinking outside the box to find solutions to the problems we’re currently facing in healthcare – many of which we were facing before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Arthritis Society is particularly focused on seeing the wait times for hip and knee replacements reduced. The majority of people waiting for these necessary and life-changing surgeries are Canadians living with arthritis. For many, the wait can mean agonizing pain, reduced mobility, inability to work and depression.   

At the end of 2020, we convened a Working Group of experts who discussed the issue and offered solutions that could begin to be implemented right now. The Wait: Addressing Canada’s critical backlog of hip and knee replacement surgeries includes these recommendations: 

  • Ensuring innovative models of care are replicated and shared widely so more Canadians have access to their benefits.    

  • Standardizing how patient data is collected and reported on across the country, to make it easier to set national standards and benchmarks.  

  • Leveraging digital technology ​to reduce wait times, maximize limited health resources and improve co-ordination of care.  

  • Increasing access to community-based joint health management programs, so​ more patients have access to proven programs that effectively manage pain pre-op and better optimize results post-op.  

  • Ensuring savings from surgical efficiencies are re-invested into improving patient care.  

We also called for the creation of a Canadian Task Force to address this issue. While health care is a provincial responsibility, only a national task force would bring together clinical, health system, government, industry and patient leaders from across the country to collaborate, share and learn from one another to implement real changes for all Canadians.  

We need national benchmarks and standards of care to be able to compare and measure if we’re making things better for patients.  

We definitely need a rethink of the way our systems operate and we need it now. 

Dr. Siân Bevan
Chief Science Officer

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