Even with the second-lowest amount of doctors per capita in the province, Erie-St. Clair region residents are getting good value for health care, says an official with the region's health oversight organization.
Pete Crvenkovski, director of performance, quality and knowledge management with the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), was commenting on a recent report from the Fraser Institute that ranks Ontario as Canada's second best province in terms of value for health care.
“We've got lower capita physicians and specialists and yet we're able to consistently produce very good results for this area in terms of outcomes,” Crvenkoski said.
For every 100,000 people in the region that includes Lambton, Kent and Essex counties there were 131.6 doctors in 2010. That's compared with a provincial average of 188.3 per 100,000 people.
The right-wing Canadian think tank's report, released earlier this week, assesses provincial health care in terms of the availability of resources, volume of treatment provided, wait times, clinical performance and government spending.
Ontario was second only to Quebec, and scored first in the volume of treatment and wait times categories.
“I think that's consistent with the LHIN mandate, which is trying to create this quality system at a lower cost and better access (for) patients,” Crvenkovski said.
Looking at quality improvement initiatives to help reduce MRI and CT scan wait times is one way the LHIN has contributed, he said.
“We've been the top performer now in CT and MRI for a number of periods.”
Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor has the shortest provincial CT wait time: seven days. Bluewater Health in Sarnia's is 29.
For MRIs, Bluewater Health is third in Ontario with a wait time average of 13 days. For St. Joseph's Health Services Association of Chatham Inc. the wait time for MRIs is 90 days. For CT scans it is 23 days.
Moving forward, the region will focus on quality and patient experiences, including reports from the LHIN's quality committee about plans for improvements, Crvenkovski said.
The region is also working on improving primary care and is investigating how to roll out a new Health Links program — encouraging collaboration between health care providers to enhance care for those who use the system most often, Crvenkovski said.