• Now, more than ever, we need to solve Ontario’s health-care crisis of capacity

    Our health-care system is simply too lean. Ontario needs more hospitals, more rehab facilities and more long-term-care beds. We need health-care professionals to staff all these new sites, plus ease shortages at the ones we already have. This will mean money… enthusiasm for new large expenditures will be limited. But we can’t deny reality.

  • It’s time to fix medicare’s innovation problem

    The basic problem is that the way we finance and deliver health care in our country hasn’t changed all that much… the federal-provincial framework for medicare hasn’t moved beyond covering hospitals and doctors. For drugs and many important services, we have a national patchwork with gaping holes. Extending coverage is harder without integrated financing… CMMI is the source of ideas like bundling all payments to hospitals and professionals alike when financing complex services that bridge hospitals and homes

  • For better mental-health care in Canada, look to Britain

    One in five Canadians will experience mental-health problems this year – many with depression and anxiety – yet care is difficult to access… The irony? Good treatments already exist. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a brief therapy that focuses on how thoughts affect mood and behaviour – is highly effective. Yet access is a profound problem… IAPT shows that other health professionals trained to administer evidence-based treatments can help people with milder illness.

  • Hallway medicine is what ails Ontario’s hospital system

    Pent-up patient demand that took years to build up can’t be tamped down anytime soon, not after years of government restraint over health spending… hospital spending wasn’t cut — it continued to increase, but only by bending the curve to a lower, slower, more sustainable rate of growth… The problem is that longer-term care hasn’t grown fast enough in the short term, nor has home care or community care.

  • Most mental-health patients don’t get timely psychiatric care in Ontario, study finds

    Basically, the system allows for the most expensive and highly trained experts in the field to provide long-term, psychological treatment to people who may not need it – while the most severely ill wait in line for even an initial consultation… in countries such as Britain and Australia… psychiatrists serve almost exclusively as consultants, provide continuing care for the most severe mental illnesses, and are paid significantly less to provide talk therapy.

  • How we buy drugs is affecting the costs

    A national pharmacare plan would mean that every Canadian would be on one single, national drug formulary (list of drugs). It means that every Canadian would be covered by one drug plan, and that the plan would cover those drugs that work most effectively, backed by evidence, and whereby clinical benefit justifies the cost… Consumers would still be able to get access to higher priced drugs not on the formulary, but they would have to pay out of pocket.

  • Prescription drug costs should be fair – not cheap

    … the federal government has introduced new regulations that, if implemented, will result in the biggest shake-up in prescription drug pricing in 30 years… [with] estimated savings of $12.7-billion over 10 years… countries are moving away from international price comparisons and embracing concepts like value-based pricing – where drugs are reimbursed based on how well they work. This requires active and transparent negotiation with industry, not just imposing new formulas.

  • Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis. Now St. Michael’s Hospital is launching a $30M centre to fight MS

    “The intent is to build the best clinical facility for MS in the world… And the way you do that is you make sure it’s a facility that offers the best in education and research as well.” … The facility will be known as the Barlo MS Centre — after John and Jocelyn Barford and Jon and Nancy Love, who donated $10 million per family to the project… “It’s the most frequent cause of disability in young adults in a number of western countries,”

  • Health-care spending projected to jump nearly 4% this year, report finds

    The CIHI report states that… aging is only a “modest driver” of increasing health-care costs, estimated at nearly 1 per cent annually… among the three largest spending categories – hospitals, drugs and physicians, which together account for more than 60 per cent of the overall expenditure – pharmaceutical costs continue to increase at the fastest pace. This has been true since 2015, due partly to the increased use of high-cost patented drugs.

  • It’s time for a data-driven approach to health care

    … the Big Three – hospitals, physicians and drugs – gobble up more than 60 per cent of total spending, and they have since we started compiling national health data in Canada in 1975. That is a sharp reminder that, despite all the talk about the importance of community care and the need for care to be delivered by multidisciplinary teams, we have a hospital-centric, physician-driven health system.