Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 21(3) October 2018 : 42-50.doi:10.12927/hcq.2018.25701
Managing Wait Times

The Road to Improving Access to Surgical Specialist Consultations: Ontario’s Experience with Wait 1 Wait Time Data

Claudia Zanchetta, Jonathan C. Irish and James P. Waddell


In 2009, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care engaged Cancer Care Ontario to expand the Wait Time Information System to capture surgical consultation data (Wait 1). Over the years, an increasing number of patient and provider reports have shown that Wait 1 wait times account for a significant portion of the total wait time for surgery. With data published online by the ministry in late summer 2017, patients were given access to consultation wait time information for over 200 types of procedures at 92 surgical facilities in Ontario. This article explains how a highly focused data strategy, strong stakeholder and clinical expert support and a comprehensive communications strategy were critical to driving change for a large-scale provincial initiative, which is helping to drive better access for patients and improve transparency and accountability.



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