The goal of Ontario's Wait Time Strategy - launched in November 2004 - was to improve access to healthcare services in the public system by reducing the time that adult Ontarians wait for services in five areas by December 2006: cancer surgery, cardiac revascularization procedures, cataract surgery, hip and knee total joint replacements and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care set out to shift a system where no one really knew how long the majority of people waited for most healthcare procedures to one where people waited less time from the decision to receive a procedure to actually receiving the procedure. Systems, structures and processes had to be established within two years to measure and monitor what appeared to be fairly simple wait times in five well-defined areas (Trypuc et al. 2006b). In addition, accountability structures, incentive systems and a public forum to communicate wait times needed to be developed, and - most importantly - surgeons, radiologists and supporting clinicians had to perform more procedures.
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