By medicinehatnews on March 18, 2019.
In response to an article published on March 13 (Election kickoff talk: Health care a hot topic), I wanted to provide some additional information and context on the overall quality of health-care services being delivered by Alberta Health Services.
I am proud to share that Alberta Health Services (AHS) benchmarks compare favourably with health systems across Canada. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), AHS ranks first or second among provinces and territories in a dozen performance indicators, including best in Canada in overall perceived health and least total time spent in an emergency department for admitted patients.
AHS health-care teams are working well together and with our partners in the community to provide seamless care — and the world is taking notice. Health-care leaders from more than 40 countries named AHS one of the top five most integrated health systems in the world last May at the 18th International Congress on Integrated Care. Delegates also ranked AHS second in the world — behind the Netherlands — as the health system from which the most could be learned.
AHS is the leanest health-care administration in the country. According to CIHI, AHS spends 3.3 per cent of total expenses on administration. That’s the lowest in Canada and 25 per cent below the national average.
That said, we know there is more work to do.
Wait times are a challenge for all health-care jurisdictions and Alberta is no different. Alberta’s population has grown at a much faster rate than other provinces in recent years, and our population is also getting older. Therefore more people are requiring surgical intervention for health-care ailments than ever before.
We are committed to improving surgical wait times and ensuring our patients get the care they need as quickly as possible. AHS is looking at introducing high-volume centres of excellence for certain areas of surgery (including cancer) and identifying even more procedures that can be safely done in a day-surgery environment. We are also making use of all surgical capacity across the entire province, not just operating rooms in Edmonton and Calgary.
All of this said, I acknowledge the comments offered in the article, and share the belief that all Albertans deserve timely access to the best possible care. I welcome these open and honest conversations about AHS; they provide us with an opportunity to improve our system and deliver on our vision to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans
Dr. Verna Yiu
(The writer is president and CEO of Alberta Health Services