• Edited by: Atif Zafar, MD

The 3 Simple But Effective Things The Canadian Healthcare System Needs To Do, Now!

The Canadian healthcare system recently funded an idea encouraging health innovative researchers should get consumer and community feedback. The naive view is that this will potentially start a new era of health research.



Similar things have happened in the US and other healthcare systems. Hype, resource allocation, and more in areas of low impact.


If consumers or society knew what was best for them, we won't need seat belt rules or vaccine regulations. Henry Ford would have developed a sturdy powerful horse riding system rather than motor vehicles. Apple wouldn't be born.


I'll share with you a few things that my patients suffer from. I don't need to send a survey for this. It's evident. The public is feeling the heat.


1. Primary care access needs an emergency plan to save it. Currently, as a stroke doc, seems like, I am easier and more accessible than primary care docs.


2. Improving access to imaging so that we are not delaying diagnosis and not adding to the frustration hampering the quality of life in our patients.


3. Minimizing the months or year-long wait times to get into specialty clinics.


The best and most impactful way to solve problem #1 is to get more GPs in the community and start charging customers for visits beyond the 4 visits per year per person limit. For folks with 1 complex diagnosis or >2 comorbidities, allow and encourage 8 visits per year. It's doable, as long as priority is set based on consumer needs.


For the second problem, allow private imaging centers (regulated for anti-profiteering so that Canadian Health System doesn't become what US Healthcare has) and leverage advanced portable and innovative technology to do more screening/sensitivity imaging tests. Reimbursement for techs should be improved based on inflation.


For the third problem, encourage bonuses for efficient specialty practices and use data from the latest 2-year wait times to see the specialists and prevalence of diagnosis data........ determine how many specialists need to be funded for training in a particular city or province. This should be dynamic and change based on the new data.


Lastly, we have seen the healthcare workforce, especially nurses, MAs, and techs be ignored in the last 2 decades. The financial industry and tech sector have seen booming incomes and advancement. Covid just made it worse. This remuneration system needs a reset before it crumbles. I have shared three ways we can save it. I am sure there are other ways, but I have shared some simple and impactful solutions to urgent healthcare concerns.


If Ontario and Canada's healthcare system needs to reinvigorate and rejuvenate and prevent itself from being engulfed by the law of entropy...... IT MUST ACT.


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Atif Zafar, MD is a physician, entrepreneur, and the author of the book "Why Doctors Need To Be Leaders".


He can be reached at atif@human-healthcare.com

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