Periodically surveying wait times for specialist health services in Canada captures current data and enables comparisons with previous surveys to identify changes over time.
During one week in April 2012, Canadian gastroenterologists were asked to complete a questionnaire (online or by fax) recording demographics, reason for referral, and dates of referral and specialist visits for at least 10 consecutive new patients (five consultations and five procedures) who had not been seen previously for the same indication. Wait times were determined for 18 indications and compared with those from similar surveys conducted in 2008 and 2005.
Data regarding adult patients were provided by 173 gastroenterologists for 1374 consultations, 540 procedures and 293 same-day consultations and procedures. Nationally, the median wait times were 92 days (95% CI 85 days to 100 days) from referral to consultation, 55 days (95% CI 50 days to 61 days) from consultation to procedure and 155 days (95% CI 142 days to 175 days) (total) from referral to procedure. Overall, wait times were longer in 2012 than in 2005 (P
Cites: Can J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun;20(6):411-2316779459
Assessment of current wait times for specialist health services in Canada is a key method that can assist government and health care providers to plan wisely for future health needs. These data are not readily available. A method to capture wait time data at the time of consultation or procedure has been developed, which should be applicable to other specialist groups and also allows for assessment of wait time trends over intervals of years.
In November 2008, gastroenterologists across Canada were asked to complete a questionnaire (online or by fax) that included personal demographics and data from one week on at least five consecutive new consultations and five consecutive procedure patients who had not previously undergone a procedure for the same indication. Wait times were collected for 18 primary indications and results were then compared with similar survey data collected in 2005.
The longest wait times observed were for screening colonoscopy (201 days) and surveillance of previous colon cancer or polyps (272 days). The shortest wait times were for cancer-likely based on imaging or physical examination (82 days), severe or rapidly progressing dysphagia or odynophagia (83 days), documented iron deficiency anemia (90 days) and dyspepsia with alarm symptoms (99 days). Compared with 2005 data, total wait times in 2008 were lengthened overall (127 days versus 155 days; P