Hospitals across Canada are busy restructuring their facilities and services, trying to head off a crisis precipitated by increasing patient demand and static or declining provincial government funding. The challenge is compounded by a looming age wave of elderly. In Ontario, and Toronto in particular, the country's hospital heartland, an unusual interdisciplinary committee has reached out far beyond obvious health care sources, to the public that uses these facilities and services.
The relationship between ambulatory physician use and hospitalization was studied using aggregate data in the Province of Quebec, Canada. The analysis showed that the introduction of health insurance covering physician services had a negligible influence on hospitalization. The average length of short-term hospital stays was determined by the proportion of aged population, the proportion of English speaking persons, and the prior level of hospitalization in the medical market areas. Overall, hospital discharge rates remained very constant during the period of six years (1970-1975). There were, however, reductions in hospitalization for infectious diseases, diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, respiratory diseases, and diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, and increases in the hospitalization rates for neoplasms, circulatory system disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, congenital anomalies, and perinatal morbidity and mortality.