Recently the South West Local Health Integration Network in Ontario released a video featuring their CEO Michael Barrett discussing highlights from 2011 and a look ahead to 2012. I came across the video in a tweet by Julie White, SWLHIN’s Director, Communications and Customer Service. I replied to Julie’s tweet stating that I liked the video and wished it included more statistics. Naturally, within a couple of minutes, Julie responded with a link to SWLHIN’s Performance section on their website. Power of Social Media aside, in the Performance page, I came across a report titled “Quarterly Stocktake Report” published in November 2011. I found this report interesting and wanted to share my thoughts on parts of it, specifically the section related to ER wait times at Pay for Results sites.
One of the problems addressed the fact that 50% of ER visits were non-urgent or less urgent than to require an ER visit. For that, a goal was set to reduce ER demand. The Bar Graph provided the number of unscheduled ER visits by quarter per 1,000 population. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2010/2011, ER visits were 146 per 1,000 population (or 14.6%) and 149 in 2011/2012 (14.9%). This shows that the goal was not met. However, the comparison might not be valid when comparing exact numbers, especially if the total population around the SWLHIN has changed. This problem is not unique to the SWLHIN, as the figures above were actually taken from CIHI and the MoHLTC. Read the rest of this entry