Procedural improvements urged to resuscitate Ontario medical system

by Leo Almazora30 Jan 2017
A 117-page report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges more efficient procedures, rather than a monetary infusion, to improve outcomes in the healthcare system.

“Partnering with both for- and non-profit actors can provide the public sector with new ideas, improve access to innovation, and build confidence in Ontario industry,” said OCC President and CEO Allan O’Dette in the report titled Health Transformation: An Action Plan for Ontario, according to the Toronto Star.

“By making use of private expertise, the government can achieve its goals without ‘re-inventing the wheel’ or growing an already untenable health budget,” he added.

Bolstering the chamber’s study, results of a poll conducted by the Gandalf Group found that Ontarians are concerned about the public health system’s sustainability, but do not necessarily feel it needs more money.

The online survey of 1,004 adults, conducted between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3, found 77% of respondents consider “ensuring the sustainability of the health-care system“ as a high-priority, at par with 76% who noted “reducing electricity rates” and 75%  who identified “managing cost of living increases facing Ontario households” as top issues.

With regards to sustainability, 25% of respondents were not confident that the health system is sustainable, while 32% were not sure. To keep the system viable, 50% believe “the health-care system doesn’t need more money, it just needs to be better managed,” while 40% feel that fundamental changes are needed on top of additional funding.

The OCC report recommended that the system focus on “patient outcomes for money spent,” as well as modernizing procurement and supply-chain processes to get better value.

Other recommendations include “[empowering] payers to explore non-traditional means of partnership, procurement, and contracting”; utilizing “tactics such as commissioning, risk-sharing agreements, and value-based procurement models”; and sparking a connection between private-sector researchers and entrepreneurs and the public health system.

The chamber’s call runs parallel to an earlier advisory by Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office, which warned that a $2.8-billion reduction in health care funding by 2019 may be needed to balance the province’s budget.

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