Backlog of 11- 24 Months and 28 Million Surgeries: The Real Fallout of COVID-19
In British Columbia, the government estimated in its Surgical Renewal Plan released on May 7th that 30,000 non-urgent scheduled surgeries have either been postponed or left on a waitlist due to COVID-19. A further 24,000 patients could also be without a referral to a waitlist.
The study estimates the cancellation backlog may take 11 months to clear. The British Columbia government plan anticipates that it will take the next 17 to 24 months to keep up with the new surgery demand and clear the existing COVID-19 backlog. We have already acknowledged that COVD-19 will result in increased mental health cases as people experience anxiety and worry. If we compound that with the added concern over medical issues that have been unaddressed during this time period we are headed for total well-being crisis.
This is particularly concerning because wait times for medically-necessary treatments are not benign inconveniences. Wait times have serious consequences such as increased pain, suffering, and mental anguish. In some instances, they can also result in poorer medical outcomes — transforming potentially reversible illnesses or injuries into chronic, irreversible conditions or even permanent disabilities.
The data is giving us early indications that this will become a crisis as people are put in a situation of wait and see. We must look for ways to reduce wait times and provide earlier access to care. The time to address the inevitable wait times and mitigate risk is now. The answer lies in supporting Canadians’ ability to navigate their health issues and provide information on available specialty care resources.
In fact, based on our experience, if individuals access information appropriately, wait times for care can be reduced by an average of 220 days. Medical Confidence had the foresight to build a company that helps Canadians navigate access to specialty and health care information.
My Health MaP is an always-on, self-serve healthcare navigation tool that helps individuals who are ill or experiencing the early onset of symptoms access personal, real-time information about specialist care and other timely healthcare resources in their community and across Canada.
If we are not able to help Canadians navigate our healthcare system through useful, real-time information, the impact of COVID-19 will extend itself to more serious health issues, growing delays accessing care, and more serious consequences for Canadians. The conversation will be about the delays and long term consequences of delayed surgeries that will extend beyond 2021.