“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.” – Sir Winston Churchill

March 12, 2009

The Vancouver Sun is Vancouver’s daily newspaper and in its March 10th edition the paper ran an article titled, “Company says it will get you to a medical specialist faster—for a fee.” Essentially, an entrepreneur is charging clients a $95 fee to find a specialist who will see patients more quickly than the one referred by their family physician.

See the article here: http://tinyurl.com/cer5cc

While Timely Medical’s $95 fee might be well intentioned, it is not going to solve any problems. First off, specialists’ wait lists are already published on the web for all to see (go to http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/waitlist/# and search by procedure, pick a health authority or hospital and, voila, specialists’ names with their wait lists are published), so what value added service can Timely actually provide for its $95 fee? Second, the challenge in our system isn’t one of demand, which Timely’s business model would have us believe, but it is a problem of supply. Not that we don’t have enough specialists (necessarily), but that we don’t have enough operating time for them to do what they’re trained to do.

I’m interested in your thoughts on Canada’s (and BC’s) health care challenges and, most importantly, your ideas for solutions.


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