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Cheryl Ying Yip | Referrals must place patients first

  • Cheryl Ying Yip
  • |
  • Jan 16, 2017
Cheryl Ying Yip | Referrals must place patients first

In Canada, the median wait time between physician-patient referrals has increased to 20 weeks between visits. The preventable death of Albertan Greg Price to cancer, due to appointment and test delays, shocked Canadians.  It illuminated the need for more effective communications between patient referrals. Despite Price’s attempt to contact the clinics involved, communication  breakdowns left him in the dark throughout his health-care process.

Cheryl Ying Yip, a research analyst with the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation and Masters of Management of Applied Science student at Western University, wrote a blog about strengthening the communications across referrals. She advocates for patients and argues the level of care must meet each patient’s particular health story and the story be properly translated between referrals. She also says the Ontario government’s Patients First technology systems should be implemented to reduce wait times and patient uncertainty.

“We cannot expect change to come over night, but we can induce momentum through discussion that can inform decision-makers about what the patients that are being placed ‘First’ want,” said Yip. “A patient who is actively engaged during a referral can better prepare for an initial consultation with a specialist. Rather than nervously playing the waiting game, patients can capitalize on precious time.”