Canadian Study: GI Patient Wait Times Getting Longer

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OAKVILLE, Ontario―The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG) this week sent a news release applauding the Wait Time Alliance for its recent release of "Shedding Light on the Total Wait for Care: Report on Wait Times in Canada, June 2012."

CAG is one of 14 national medical organizations to provide data to the annual Wait Time Alliance report. Through its latest Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Survey of Access to GastroEnterology (SAGE) completed this April, results reveal a worrisome trend of longer wait times. Data was gathered from nearly 200 participating gastroenterologists who submitted information on approximately 2,000 patient interactions within the health system. SAGE surveys were also conducted in 2005 and 2008. Over a seven year period, the trend in longer wait times is evident according to soon to be published 2012 SAGE data.

“Our analysis shows that patient wait times are now 30 days longer than they were in 2005," said CAG Dr. Desmond Leddin, lead on the CAG SAGE program. “This is a disturbing trend, and one which indicates a need to pursue strategies to ensure patients receive the digestive care they need in a more timely manner."

As an example, the recent SAGE data shows that a patient with a high likelihood of severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can expect a total wait time of 126 days. Of these 126 days, patients wait on average 72 days for a consultation and 44 days for a diagnostic endoscopy. Given the target total wait time of 14 days for this disease category, these patients are waiting 16 weeks longer than the recommended wait time target. (see enclosed fact sheet)

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