As part of its ongoing healthcare reform, the Hong Kong Government introduced
a voucher scheme, intended for encouraging older patients to use primary
healthcare services in the private sector, thereby, reducing burden on the
overwhelmed public sector. The voucher program is also considered one of the
strategies to further develop the public private partnership in healthcare,
a policy direction of high political priority as indicated in the Chief
Executive Policy Address in 2008-09. This study assessed whether the voucher
scheme, as implemented so far, has reached its intended goals, and how it
might be further improved in the context of public-private partnership.
This was a cross-sectional study using structured questionnaires by
face-to-face interviews with older people aged 70 or above in Hong Kong, the
target group of the demand-side voucher program.
71.2% of 1,026 older people were aware of the new voucher scheme but only
35.0% had ever used it. The majority of the older people used the vouchers
for acute curative services in the private sector (82.4%) and spent less on
preventive services. Despite the provision of vouchers valued US$30 per year
as an incentive to encourage the use of private primary care services, after
12-months of implementation, 66.2% of all respondents agreed with the
statement that "the voucher scheme does not change their health seeking
behaviours on seeing public or private healthcare professionals". The most
common reasons for no change in their behaviours included "I am used to
seeing doctors in the public system" and "The amount of the subsidy is too
low". Those who usually used a mix of public and private doctors and those
with better self-reported health condition compared to last year were more
likely to perceive a change in their own health seeking behaviours.
Our study showed that despite a reasonably high awareness of the voucher
scheme, its usage was low. The voucher alone was not enough to realize the
government's policy of greater use of the private primary care services.
Greater publicity and more variety of media promotion would increase
awareness but the effectiveness of vouchers in changing older people's
behaviour needs to be revisited. Designating vouchers for use of preventive
services with evidence-based practice could be considered. In addition to
the demand-side subsidies, improving transparency and comparability of
private services against the public sector might be necessary.
The government of Morocco approved two reforms in 2005 to expand health insurance coverage. The first is a payroll-based mandatory health insurance plan for public-and formal private–sector employees to extend coverage from the current 16 percent of the population to 30 percent. The second creates a publicly financed fund to cover services for the poor. Both reforms aim to improve access to high-quality care and reduce disparities in access and financing between income groups and between rural and urban dwellers. In this paper we analyze these reforms: the pre-reform debate, benefits covered, financing, administration, and oversight. We also examine prospects and future challenges for implementing the reforms.
In Finland, dental services are provided by a public (PDS) and a private sector. In the past, children, young adults and special needs groups were entitled to care and treatment from the public dental services (PDS). A major reform in 2001 – 2002 opened the PDS and extended subsidies for private dental services to all adults. It aimed to increase equity by improving adults' access to oral health care and reducing cost barriers. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the reform on the utilization of publicly funded and private dental services, numbers and distribution of personnel and costs in 2000 and in 2004, before and after the oral health care reform. An evaluation was made of how the health political goals of the reform: integrating oral health care into general health care, improving adults' access to care and lowering cost barriers had been fulfilled during the study period.
National registers were used as data sources for the study. Use of dental services, personnel resources and costs in 2000 (before the reform) and in 2004 (after the reform) were compared.
In 2000, when access to publicly subsidised dental services was restricted to those born in 1956 or later, every third adult used the PDS or subsidised private services. By 2004, when subsidies had been extended to the whole adult population, this increased to almost every second adult. The PDS reported having seen 118 076 more adult patients in 2004 than in 2000. The private sector had the same number of patients but 542 656 of them had not previously been entitled to partial reimbursement of fees.
The use of both public and subsidised private services increased most in big cities and urban municipalities where access to the PDS had been poor and the number of private practitioners was high. The PDS employed more dentists (6.5%) and the number of private practitioners fell by 6.9%. The total dental care expenditure (PDS plus private) increased by 21% during the study period. Private patients who had previously not been entitled to reimbursements seemed to gain most from the reform.
The results of this study indicate that implementation of a substantial reform, that changes the traditionally defined tasks of the public and private sectors in an established oral health care provision system, proceeds slowly, is expensive and probably requires more stringent steering than was the case in Finland 2001 – 2004. However, the equity and fairness of the oral health care provision system improved and access to services and cost-sharing improved slightly.
The relation between changes in inpatient workload, measured as increases or decreases in the number of inpatients admitted from the waiting list, and the overall length of the waiting list was studied. Overall trends in admissions from the waiting list, the influence of seasonal patterns, and the impact of industrial action on admissions were also studied. The hypothesis was that when admissions from the waiting list increased the length of the waiting list would decrease and vice versa. No such simple relation was found. In fact, if anything, as the number of admissions from the waiting list increased so did the length of the waiting list. This result could be due to inconsistencies in compiling waiting list data or to the use of waiting lists to improve organisational efficiency. It is also possible, and perhaps likely, that the ability to meet need in admitting patients to hospital influences patients and their doctors to translate previously unmet need into demand for hospital services.
The Government of the Republic of Kenya is in the process of implementing health care reforms. However, poor knowledge about costs of health care services is perceived as a major obstacle towards evidence-based, effective and efficient health care reforms. Against this background, the Ministry of Health of Kenya in cooperation with its development partners conducted a comprehensive costing exercise and subsequently developed the Kenya Health Sector Costing Model in order to fill this data gap.
Based on standard methodology of costing of health care services in developing countries, standard questionnaires and analyses were employed in 207 health care facilities representing different trustees (e.g. Government, Faith Based/Nongovernmental, private-for-profit organisations), levels of care and regions (urban, rural). In addition, a total of 1369 patients were randomly selected and asked about their demand-sided costs. A standard step-down costing methodology was applied to calculate the costs per service unit and per diagnosis of the financial year 2006/2007.
The total costs of essential health care services in Kenya were calculated as 690 million Euros or 18.65 Euro per capita. 54% were incurred by public sector facilities, 17% by Faith Based and other Nongovernmental facilities and 23% in the private sector. Some 6% of the total cost is due to the overall administration provided directly by the Ministry and its decentralised organs. Around 37% of this cost is absorbed by salaries and 22% by drugs and medical supplies. Generally, costs of lower levels of care are lower than of higher levels, but health centres are an exemption. They have higher costs per service unit than district hospitals.
The results of this study signify that the costs of health care services are quite high compared with the Kenyan domestic product, but a major share are fixed costs so that an increasing coverage does not necessarily increase the health care costs proportionally. Instead, productivity will rise in particular in under-utilized private health care institutions. The results of this study also show that private-for-profit health care facilities are not only the luxurious providers catering exclusively for the rich but also play an important role in the service provision for the poorer population. The study findings also demonstrated a high degree of cost variability across private providers, suggesting differences in quality and efficiencies.
In 2001, the New Zealand government introduced its Primary Health Care Strategy (PHCS), aimed at strengthening the role of primary health care, in order to improve health and to reduce inequalities in health. As part of the Strategy, new funding was provided to reduce the fees that patients pay when they use primary health care services in New Zealand, to improve access to services and to increase service use. In this article, we estimate the impact of the new funding on general practitioner and practice nurse visit fees paid by patients and on consultation rates. The analyses involved before-and-after monitoring of fees and consultation rates in a random sample of 99 general practices and covered the period from June 2001 (pre-Strategy) to mid-2005.
Fees fell particularly in Access (higher need, higher per capita funded) practices over time for doctor and nurse visits. Fees increased over time for many in Interim (lower need, lower per capita funded) practices, but they fell for patients aged 65 years and over as new funding was provided for this age group. There were increases in consultation rates across almost all age, funding model (Access or Interim), socio-demographic and ethnic groups. Increases were particularly high in Access practices.
The Strategy has resulted in lower fees for primary health care for many New Zealanders, and consultation rates have also increased over the past few years. However, fees have not fallen by as much as expected in government policy given the amount of extra public money spent since there are limited requirements for practices to reduce patients' fees in line with increases in public funding for primary care.
This article considers some of the effects of health sector reform on human resources for health (HRH) in developing countries and countries in transition by examining the effect of fiscal reform and the introduction of decentralisation and market mechanisms to the health sector.
Fiscal reform results in pressure to measure the staff outputs of the health sector. Financial decentralisation often leads to hospitals becoming "corporatised" institutions, operating with business principles but remaining in the public sector. The introduction of market mechanisms often involves the formation of an internal market within the health sector and market testing of different functions with the private sector. This has immediate implications for the employment of health workers in the public sector, because the public sector may reduce its workforce if services are purchased from other sectors or may introduce more short-term and temporary employment contracts.
Decentralisation of budgets and administrative functions can affect the health sector, often in negative ways, by reducing resources available and confusing lines of accountability for health workers. Governance and regulation of health care, when delivered by both public and private providers, require new systems of regulation.
The increase in private sector provision has led health workers to move to the private sector. For those remaining in the public sector, there are often worsening working conditions, a lack of employment security and dismantling of collective bargaining agreements.
Human resource development is gradually being recognised as crucial to future reforms and the formulation of health policy. New information systems at local and regional level will be needed to collect data on human resources. New employment arrangements, strengthening organisational culture, training and continuing education will also be needed.
To determine whether the probability of undergoing coronary bypass surgery within a certain time was related to the number of patients on the wait list at registration for the operation in a publicly funded health system.
A prospective cohort study comparing waiting times among patients registered on wait lists at the hospitals delivering adult cardiac surgery. For each calendar week, the list size, the number of new registrations, and the number of direct admissions immediately after angiography characterized the demand for surgery.
The length of delay in undergoing treatment was associated with list size at registration, with shorter times for shorter lists (log-rank test 1,198.3, p<.0001). When the list size at registration required clearance time over 1 week patients had 42 percent lower odds of undergoing surgery compared with lists with clearance time less than 1 week (odds ratio [OR] 0.58 percent, 95 percent, confidence interval [CI] 0.53–0.63), after adjustment for age, sex, comorbidity, period, and hospital. The weekly number of new registrations exceeding weekly service capacity had an independent effect toward longer service delays when the list size at registration required clearance time less than 1 week (OR 0.56 percent, 95 percent CI 0.45–0.71), but not for longer lists. Every time the operation was performed for a patient requiring surgery without registration on wait lists, the odds of surgery for listed patients were reduced by 6 percent (OR 0.94, CI 0.93–0.95).
For wait-listed patients, time to surgery depends on the list size at registration, the number of new registrations, as well as on the weekly number of patients who move immediately from angiography to coronary bypass surgery without being registered on a wait list. Hospital managers may use these findings to improve resource planning and to reduce uncertainty when providing advice on expected treatment delays.
Access to health care; surgical procedures; elective surgery; waiting lists; delay in treatment; patient admission; registries; cohort studies
Background: Timely access to publicly funded health services has emerged as a priority policy issue across the continuum of care from hospitals to the home and community sector. The purpose of this study was to examine wait lists and wait times for publicly funded outpatient and community occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) services.
Methods: A mailed self-administered questionnaire was sent in December 2005 to all publicly funded sites across Ontario that deliver outpatient or community OT or PT services (N = 374). Descriptive statistics were used to describe the study sample and to examine wait lists and wait times by setting and client condition.
Results: Overall response rate was 57.2% (n = 214). More than 10,000 people were reported to be waiting for OT or PT services across Ontario. Of these, 16% (n = 1,664) were waiting for OT and 84% (n = 8,842) for PT. Of those waiting for OT, 59% had chronic conditions and half were waiting for home care rehabilitation services. Of those waiting for PT, 73% had chronic conditions and 81% were waiting at hospital outpatient departments.
Conclusions: Individuals with chronic conditions experience excessive wait times for outpatient and community OT and PT services in Ontario, particularly if they are waiting for services in hospital outpatient departments.
community services; physical therapy; physiotherapy; wait times; physiothérapie; services communautaires; temps d'attente; thérapie physique
National health reform is expected to increase how long individuals have to wait between requests for appointments and when their appointment is scheduled. The increase in demand for care due to more widespread insurance will result in longer waits if there is not also a concomitant increase in supply of healthcare services. Long waits for healthcare are hypothesized to compromise health because less frequent outpatient visits result in delays in diagnosis and treatment. Research testing this hypothesis is scarce due to a paucity of data on how long individuals wait for healthcare in the United States. The main exception is the Veterans Health Administration (VA) that has been routinely collecting data on how long veterans wait for outpatient care for over a decade. This narrative review summarizes the results of studies using VA wait time data to answer two main questions: 1) How much do longer wait times decrease healthcare utilization and 2) Do longer wait times cause poorer health outcomes? Longer VA wait times lead to small, yet statistically significant decreases in utilization and are related to poorer health in elderly and vulnerable veteran populations. Both long-term outcomes (e.g. mortality, preventable hospitalizations) and intermediate outcomes such as hemoglobin A1C levels are worse for veterans who seek care at facilities with longer waits compared to veterans who visit facilities with shorter waits. Further research is needed on the mechanisms connecting longer wait times and poorer outcomes including identifying patient sub-populations whose risks are most sensitive to delayed access to care. If wait times increase for the general patient population with the implementation of national reform as expected, U.S. healthcare policymakers and clinicians will need to consider policies and interventions that minimize potential harms for all patients.
wait times; health outcomes; chronic conditions; health care utilization; VA
In Bangladesh, widespread dissatisfaction with government health services did not improve during the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP) reforms from 1998-2003. A 2003 national household survey documented public and health service users' views and experience. Attitudes and behaviour of health workers are central to quality of health services. To investigate whether the views of health workers influenced the reforms, we surveyed local health workers and held evidence-based discussions with local service managers and professional bodies.
Some 1866 government health workers in facilities serving the household survey clusters completed a questionnaire about their views, experience, and problems as workers. Field teams discussed the findings from the household and health workers' surveys with local health service managers in five upazilas (administrative sub-districts) and with the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and Bangladesh Nurses Association (BNA).
Nearly one half of the health workers (45%) reported difficulties fulfilling their duties, especially doctors, women, and younger workers. They cited inadequate supplies and infrastructure, bad behaviour of patients, and administrative problems. Many, especially doctors (74%), considered they were badly treated as employees. Nearly all said lack of medicines in government facilities was due to inadequate supply, not improved during the HPSP. Two thirds of doctors and nurses complained of bad behaviour of patients. A quarter of respondents thought quality of service had improved as a result of the HPSP.
Local service managers and the BMA and BNA accepted patients had negative views and experiences, blaming inadequate resources, high patient loads, and patients' unrealistic expectations. They said doctors and nurses were demotivated by poor working conditions, unfair treatment, and lack of career progression; private and unqualified practitioners sought to please patients instead of giving medically appropriate care. The BMA considered it would be dangerous to attempt to train and register unqualified practitioners.
The continuing dissatisfaction of health workers may have undermined the effectiveness of the HPSP. Presenting the views of the public and service users to health managers helped to focus discussions about quality of services. It is important to involve health workers in health services reforms.
In this review, we summarize and review reforms to the mental health service in the United Kingdom from 1999 to the present. Our analysis is based on government documents describing the reforms and providing guidelines for their implementation. In addition, we summarize prospective studies of psychosis from the first episode and early treatment studies on the basis of existing systematic reviews. The UK mental health reforms have attracted major government funding and have been used to commission specialized (“functional”) community teams for people with severe mental illness. The reforms include changes to services for first-episode psychosis, which have attracted considerable consumer support. The UK service reforms are continuing, with the aim of providing services fit for the 21st century.
mental health services; health care reform; Great Britain; national health programs; schizophrenia
In British Columbia, Canada, all necessary medical services are funded publicly. Concerned with growing wait lists in the mid-1990s, the provincial government started providing extra funding for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) operations annually. Although aimed at improving access, it is not known whether supplementary funding changed the time that patients spent on wait lists for CABG. We sought to determine whether the period of registration on wait lists had an effect on time to isolated CABG and whether the period effect was similar across priority groups.
Using records from a population-based registry, we studied the wait-list time before and after supplementary funding became available. We compared the number of weeks from registration to surgery for equal proportions of patients in synthetic cohorts defined by five registration periods in the 1990s.
Overall, 9,231 patients spent a total of 137,126 person-weeks on the wait lists. The time to surgery increased by the middle of the decade, and decreased toward the end of the decade. Relative to the 1991–92 registration period, the conditional weekly probabilities of undergoing surgery were 30% lower among patients registered on the wait lists in 1995–96, hazard ratio (HR) = 0.70 (0.65–0.76), and 23% lower in 1997–98 patients, HR = 0.77 (0.71–0.83), while there were no differences with 1999–2000 patients, HR = 0.94 (0.88–1.02), after adjusting for priority group at registration, comorbidity, age and sex. We found that the effect of registration period was different across priority groups.
Our results provide evidence that time to CABG shortened after supplementary funding was provided on an annual basis to tertiary care hospitals within a single publicly funded health system. One plausible explanation is that these hospitals had capacity to increase the number of operations. At the same time, the effect was not uniform across priority groups indicating that changes in clinical practice should be considered when adding extra funding to reduce wait lists.
Although Canadian health care reform has constrained costs and improved efficiency, it has had a profound and mixed effect on Canadian academic medicine. Teaching hospitals have been reduced in number and size, and in patient programs have shifted to ambulatory and community settings. Specialized care programs are now multi-institutional and multidisciplinary. Furthermore, the influence of regional planning bodies has grown markedly. Although these changes have likely improved clinical service, their impact on the quality of clinical education is uncertain. Within the academic clinical department, recruitment of young faculty has been greatly complicated by constraints on licensing, billing numbers, fee-for-service income and research funding. The departmental practice plan based on university funds and fee-for-service income is being replaced by less favourable funding arrangements. However, emphasis on multidisciplinary programs has rendered these departments more flexible in structure. The future of Canadian academic medicine depends on an effective alliance with government. Academia and government must agree, particularly on human-resource requirements, research objectives and the delivery of clinical and academic programs in regional and community settings. The establishment of focal points for academic health sciences planning within academic health sciences centres and within governments would assist in these developments. Finally, government and the academic health sciences sector must work together to remove the current impediments to the recruitment of highly qualified young faculty.
A lengthening waiting list for treatment of varicose veins in a busy teaching hospital prompted a careful review. Patients were sent a detailed questionnaire which addressed current symptoms, progression of the complaint and the desire for surgical treatment. Of 519 patients on the waiting list, replies were received from 471 (91%). Forty-eight patients could not be traced after two questionnaires had been sent and enquiries made with their last known local GP. A further 87 (17%) patients were removed from the waiting list because they no longer desired treatment or had had treatment in the private sector. The remaining 384 patients were sent appointments for specially organised Saturday morning assessment clinics attended by consultants and senior registrars. Eighty patients failed to attend without giving a reason and were removed from the waiting list. Of 304 patients reviewed, surgical treatment was considered necessary for 219, of whom 182 were suitable for day-case surgery, leaving only 37 patients of the original 519 who required inpatient surgical care. This study has shown how careful assessment and the increased provision of day-case facilities can relieve pressure on inpatient care.
In 2005, the State of New Mexico undertook a sweeping transformation of all publicly funded behavioral health services. The reform was intended to enhance the cultural responsiveness and appropriateness of these services. To examine achievement of this objective, we conducted a qualitative study of the involvement of Native Americans in reform efforts and the subsequent impacts of reform on services for Native Americans. We found that the reform was relatively unsuccessful at creating mechanisms for genuine community input or improving behavioral health care for this population. These shortcomings were related to limited understandings of administrators concerning how tribal governments and health care systems operate, and the structural limitations of a managed care system that does not allow flexibility for culturally appropriate utilization review, screening, or treatment. However, interaction between the State and tribes increased, and we conclude that aspects of the reform could be strengthened to achieve more meaningful involvement and service improvements.
Aboriginal people; North America; evidence-based practice; health care disparities; health care; access to; health care; remote / rural; health policy / policy analysis; mental health and illness
In 2011 England's career guidance profession lost its ‘own’ public service organisation and its former dedicated stream of public funding. The immediate causes lay in decisions by the government of the day, but this article revisits the profession's history to seek explanations for its later vulnerability. It is argued that decisions taken early in the profession's history, specifically its complete separation from adult employment services and basing claims to professional expertise almost wholly on occupational psychology, though maybe right at the time, were to have fateful consequences. The article proceeds to argue that career guidance will certainly survive its recent trauma, but the most likely outcome of the current ‘reforms’ – a market in career guidance services – will not create the kind of comprehensive education-to-work bridging service that was once intended and which is still needed.
career guidance; careers service; Institute of Career Guidance; Juvenile Employment Service; labour exchanges; occupational psychology; Youth Employment Service
California's drastic Medi-Cal reforms have created great difficulties in health care for the poor. Patients' clinical problems seldom are apparent in descriptions of changes in public insurance programs. Rapidly escalating costs of Medi-Cal led to irresistible pressures for reform, especially from the business community. The new Medi-Cal regulations provide for prospective contracts with hospitals for inpatient services, the transfer of “Medically Indigent Adults” to the responsibility of county governments and various other straightforward funding cutbacks. Confusion, disruption of services and adverse health outcomes have accompanied the Medi-Cal reforms.
The length of wait lists to access specialist clinics in the public system is problematic for Queensland Health, general practitioners and patients. To address this issue at The Townsville Hospital, the GP Liaison Officer, GPs and hospital staff including specialists, collaborated to develop a process to review patients waiting longer than two years. GPs frequently send referrals to public hospital specialist clinics. Once received, referrals are triaged to Category A, B or C depending on clinical criteria resulting in appointment timeframes of 30, 90 or 365 days for each category, respectively. However, hospitals often fail to meet these targets, creating a long wait list. These wait listed patients are only likely to be seen if their condition deteriorates and an updated referral upgrades them to Category A.
Process to Address the Problem
A letter sent to long wait patients offered two options 1) take no action if the appointment was no longer required or 2) visit their GP to update their referral on a clinic specific template if they felt the referral was still required. Local GPs were advised of the trial and provided education on the new template and minimum data required for specialist referrals.
In 2008, 872 letters were sent to long wait orthopaedic patients and 101 responded. All respondents were seen at specially arranged clinics. Of these, 16 patients required procedures and the others were discharged. In 2009 the process was conducted in the specialties of orthopaedics, ENT, neurosurgery, urology, and general surgery. Via this new process 6885 patients have been contacted, 633 patients have been seen by public hospital specialists at specially arranged clinics and 197 have required a procedure.
Since the start of this process in 2008, the wait time to access a specialist appointment has reduced from eight to two years. The process described here is achievable across a range of specialties, deliverable within the routine of the referral centre and identifies the small number of people on the long wait list in need of a procedure.
Rather than improving efficiency, the reforms imposed on the NHS have increased bureaucracy, reduced patient choice, limited the range of core services, and led to inequity of treatment. In this paper I examine how the medical profession might help to solve these problems. Priorities must be set for health care since no government can afford all the possibilities offered by medical science. It is essential to forge a consensus of patients, carers, professionals, the public, and government if a system of priorities is to be equitable and just. We also need to be able to measure quality of outcome in health care. This requires consensus on what is the desired outcome and the development of appropriate guidelines, audit, and performance review. This is primarily a task for the health professions supported by management and by adequate investment. Basically, the government must reinstate the three traditional values of the NHS--equity, consensus, and regard for representative professional advice.
Objective: Five years after its introduction, to evaluate the 1992 reform in the out of hours service in Denmark.
Design: Comparison of data before and after reform. Data were collected from published reports, Danish national health statistics, and the Danish trade union for general practitioners.
Main outcome measures: Number of out of hours services; workload of general practitioners; cost of the service; patient satisfaction.
Results: Five years after the reform, the percentage of telephone consultations had almost doubled, to 48%. Consultations in doctors’ surgeries were relatively unchanged, but home visits were much reduced, to 18%. The percentage of doctors who worked 5 hours or more out of hours per week dropped from about 70% to about 50%. Overall patient satisfaction in 1995 was high (72%).
Conclusion: The organisation of the out of hours service, with a fully trained general practitioner in a telephone triage function, is working satisfactorily. Many calls that previously would have required home visits are now dealt with by telephone or through consultations. The out of hours workload for general practitioners has decreased considerably.
Key messages The out of hours reform in Denmark has resulted in an organisation with a fully trained general practitioner performing the telephone triage function Hours on call for general practitioners have decreased considerably Home visits have largely been replaced by telephone consultations Patient satisfaction has declined slightly
Long waits for publicly funded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services have spurred the opening of private MRI centres in Canada. Little is known about the number and utilization of these facilities.
The authors surveyed all 17 private and 69 of 73 public English-speaking MRI centres in Canada in 2006, using hours of operation and waits for an elective MRI as surrogate measures of procedure volume and facility capacity.
Public MRIs had more hours of operation on weekdays (14.7 vs. 9.7, p<0.001) and weekends (11.8 vs. 8.2, p<0.001). Waits were longer in public vs. private MRI centres (13.6 vs. 0.5 weeks, p<0.001).
Private MRIs provided fewer hours of operation but shorter wait times compared to public centres. This finding suggests that private centres have unused capacity and relatively small procedure volumes, and provide a minority of studies.
The Quebec health care system, founded in 1970 as a public, single payer, state run system had by 2004 reached a turning point. Rising costs, working in silos, difficulty accessing physicians, increased waiting time for diagnostic imaging and surgical intervention led policy makers and politicians to propose a new model for the organisation and delivery of care.
Based on populational responsibility and the clear distinction between a community primary care and specialised services a new model was proposed to develop integrated health networks. The 7.2 million population of Quebec was divided into 95 territories. 95 Health and social service centres were created by merging a community hospital, rehab centre, long-term care centres, home care and primary care services into a single institution with a new CEO and board of directors. These new networks received the mandate to manage the health and well being of their population, to manage the utilisation of services by their population and to manage all primary care services on their territory.
The implementation of a chronic care model, the development of primary care multidisciplinary teams, empowering the population and performance management, are the key elements of Montreal's vision in implementing the Reform.
After three years of operation the results are promising.
chronic care model; integrated health care networks; Canada
To evaluate how a primary care reform, which aimed to promote interprofessional and interorganizational collaborative practices, affected patients’ experiences of the core dimensions of primary care.
Before-and-after comparison of patients’ perceptions of care at the beginning of family medicine group (FMG) implementation (15 to 20 months after accreditation) and 18 months later.
Five FMGs in the province of Quebec from various settings and types of practice.
A random sample of patients was selected in each FMG; a total of 1046 participants completed both the baseline and follow-up questionnaires.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Patients’ perceptions of relational and informational continuity, organizational and first-contact accessibility, attitude and efficiency of the clinic’s personnel and waiting times (service responsiveness), physician-nurse and primary care physician–specialist coordination, and intra-FMG collaboration were assessed over the telephone, mostly using a modified version of the Primary Care Assessment Tool. Additional items covered patients’ opinions about consulting nurses, patients’ use of emergency services, and patients’ recall of health promotion and preventive care received.
A total of 1275 patients were interviewed at the study baseline, and 82% also completed the follow-up interviews after 18 months (n = 1046). Overall, perceptions of relational and informational continuity increased significantly (P < .05), whereas organizational and first-contact accessibility and service responsiveness did not change significantly. Perception of physician-nurse coordination remained unchanged, but perception of primary care physician–specialist coordination decreased significantly (P < .05). The proportion of participants reporting visits with nurses and reporting use of FMGs’ emergency services increased significantly from baseline to follow-up (P < .05).
This reorganization of primary care services resulted in considerable changes in care practices, which led to improvements in patients’ experiences of the continuity of care but not to improvements in their experiences of the accessibility of care.
1996;76(4 Suppl 4):1-24.
Objective—To describe changes in the availability, utilisation, and waiting times for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) between 1987/88 and 1994/95 and to review commissioning of these services. Design—A series of cross sectional surveys and interviews with purchasers and providers. Setting—Four health regions in the United Kingdom. Patients—All residents aged 25 years or more who underwent coronary revascularisation. Results—There has been little change in the availability of consultants in cardiology in specialist centres, while the number of non-consultant cardiologists has risen significantly. The availability of consultant surgeons more than doubled in some regions, while non-consultant surgical staff increased by 40–90%. The NHS rate of use of both CABG and PTCA has increased steadily since 1987/88. In 1994/95, only two districts had CABG rates of less than 300 per million population. The additional contribution of privately funded cases varied between 14–23% for CABG and 7–30% for PTCA. Regional rates varied 1·3-fold for CABG and threefold for PTCA in 1994/95, while district rates of CABG varied 3·6-fold and PTCA 18-fold. Revascularisation rates were higher in districts with least need in 1991/92 and this persisted over the following three years. The overall waiting time for CABG (214 days) was largely unchanged from 1992/93 (234 days). The overall waiting time for PTCA (138 days) was 25% shorter than in 1992/93 (185 days). Prioritisation of patients waiting over a year had not yet adversely affected the waiting time of more urgent patients. Commissioning has faced a complex web of interconnected problems which, in general, caused more problems for purchasers than providers initially but which appear to be of increasing concern to providers. Conclusions—The 1991 NHS reforms had had no observable impact on the availability and use of coronary revascularisation by 1995. Continued monitoring is necessary to detect any delayed effect.
coronary revascularisation; trends; geographical variation; commissioning