Piggott KL et al, 2013: Looking for lithotripsy: accessibility and portability of Canadian healthcare
Piggott KL, Bell CM
Resident, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Faculty of Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
BACKGROUND: Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a definitive, ambulatory and non-invasive modality for treating kidney stones. ESWL is not available in all urban centres and many Canadians must either travel, sometimes out of province, or wait to have this procedure performed. We sought to evaluate the variability in access to ESWL treatment.
METHOD: We compiled a comprehensive list of ESWL centres in Canada and contacted all centres in 2011 to assess their wait times, out-of-province patient fees, and roles and responsibilities of the referring physician.
RESULTS: We contacted all 23 ESWL facilities across Canada (100% response rate). Wait times for elective ESWL procedures ranged from one day to over one year, with a mean of 8.4 weeks (SD, 16.76 weeks). No centres refused out-of-province patients, although five discouraged travel to their centre owing to their prolonged wait times. No facilities charged extra fees for out-of-province patients. Ten (43%) facilities required a secondary consultation by a urologist at the centre before booking. Twelve (52%) of the centres indicated the waiting time could be shortened if the referring physician were to advocate on the patient's behalf. Contact was repeated one year later in 2012 with five centres, and the results were similar.
INTERPRETATION: There is marked variation in wait times across Canada for ESWL but there are few barriers to care. Patients' waits may be shortened by physician advocacy.
Healthc Policy. 2013 Nov;9(2):65-75. PMID:24359718[PubMed - in process]. FREE ARTICLE