• Hatred of Big Pharma won’t get us better drug prices

    Talking about the price of drugs is very 20th century; in the 21st century, and the impending era of personalized medicine, what matters is the value treatments provide. For drugs such as Remicade, we should be paying, and paying fairly, when the drug works, when it delivers on a specific treatment goal.

  • How a blockbuster drug tells the story of why Canada’s spending on prescriptions is sky high

    Canada pays the third-highest drug prices among the countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and spends more per capita on prescriptions than any country except the United States and Switzerland… Like generic drugs before them, biosimilars could free up money for governments and private insurers to cover the newest generation of miracle cures, including expensive gene therapies

  • How One Researcher Is Blocking the Road from Hospital to Homelessness

    in her work as a researcher, Forchuk conducted a review of discharge processes in several Ontario hospitals and found that, as a result of changes in policy, discharges into homelessness were becoming more common… Her current project attempts to intervene in such cases, providing resources to those leaving medical wards so that they can continue healing…[It] has already helped keep dozens of people out of homelessness.

  • Resources don’t match need for surgery

    We have just eight full-time neurosurgeons and four orthopedists serving the regional referral population of 2.4 million. Everybody has an elective wait list one to two years long. It is months before we can look after acutely disabled people. None of us in this province operates as much as we could under the resource restrictions of a system that has failed to match the simple growth of the population for decades, never mind the growth of technology and care options.

  • One solution to hallway medicine: outpatient hip-replacements

    Thirty years ago, this procedure would have required a hospital stay of up to seven days, and more recently it’s taken an average of three days… Women’s College is the only fully ambulatory hospital in Ontario, meaning it has no overnight beds. It describes itself as “a hospital designed to keep people out of hospital.” Part of its mission is to help improve the broader health system. One way it’s trying to do that is by spreading the word about the advantages of ambulatory, or outpatient, surgery.

  • After-hours patient care needs rethinking

    Our recent study found that emergency department use did not decrease for patients who joined the new practice models. Between 2003 and 2014, there was actually an increase in the rate of emergency department visits in Ontario, particularly during the day. At the same time, the overall rate of visits to family doctors went down but family doctors seemed to be providing more after-hours care.

  • Ottawa funds health changes aimed at giving First Nations more control

    Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott announced $68 million over three years for Indigenous communities in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan… Philpott says the money will help boost First Nations health services closer to home. She says this should help reduce the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in areas such as diabetes and infectious disease… “The idea is to increase the control and the design of health systems in the hands of First Nations governments”

  • Canada must add more medical resident training positions

    With our institutions filled with foreign physicians who are paying to be there, albeit temporarily, Canada has not felt the urgency to address its doctor shortage. More must be done to add resident training positions for Canadians who study here or abroad. Our system relies not only on doctors from Saudi Arabia, but also Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. If they were all to withdraw their physicians, how could we guarantee the safety of our patients?

  • Ontario PC government orders freeze to opening of new overdose-prevention sites

    As the Ontario government reviews whether it should continue supporting supervised drug-use and overdose prevention sites, it has ordered a halt to the opening of any new temporary facilities to combat the opioid crisis… “The minister has been clear that she is undertaking an evidence-based review of the overdose prevention and supervised consumption site models to ensure that any continuation of these services introduce people into rehabilitation”

  • How should Ontario tackle the psychiatrist shortage?

    … of the 1,900 practicing psychiatrists in Ontario, over half are approaching retirement… The average annual number of outpatients seen by psychiatrists in Ontario has increased 20 percent between 2003 and 2013… The OPA offers three recommendations to stave this potential crisis in mental health care: Improve psychiatry exposure in medical school. Increase psychiatry residency spots and reduce residency vacancies. Pay psychiatrists adequately: their average gross annual pay that is 25 percent lower than the across-specialty average.