CALGARY, Alberta May 22, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Wait times in the Canadian healthcare system have been manufactured by out-of-date and technically corrupt approaches to capacity management and planning. That's the conclusion of "Full House", the feature article of the latest Six Sigma Forum, a peer reviewed publication of The American Society for Quality.
"Every provincial jurisdiction in Canada has its own wait time creation myths," says author Robert Gerst of Converge Consulting Group. "In Alberta, it's population growth. In Ontario, budget cuts and restructuring. And across Canada, the emphasis on public over private funding. But the reality is our excessive healthcare wait times were manufactured by outdated approaches to capacity management and improvement."
For example, Full House details how utilization targets created the access crisis in emergency rooms and seniors care facilities in Alberta. Traditional capacity planning holds that utilization can be increased without impacting wait times. But modern, science-based approaches, recognize this isn't true. Increasing utilization produces exponential increases in wait times and cost. The result, Alberta spent millions manufacturing excessive wait times and millions more making them worse. Even recommendations made by the Health Quality Council of Alberta last year to address wait time issues were based on outdated methods and have almost no chance for success, the research concludes.
"In the current economic climate, increasing system capacity, doing more with less, has become a challenge, not only in healthcare, but in other areas of industry and government," according to Gerst. "Meeting that challenge requires a modern, rational approach to maximizing capacity and throughput."
Converge Consulting Group Inc. is a independent Canadian management consulting firm providing evidenced-based performance improvement and change leadership services to clients in North America, Europe, and Australia.