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The Private Cost of Public Queues, 2012 edition

Type: Research Studies
Date Published: June 20, 2012
Authors:
Research Topics:
Health

The measurement of health care waiting times, or the examination of the absolute delay Canadians must endure in order to receive medically necessary care, is only one way of looking at the burden of waiting for health care. We can also calculate the privately borne cost of waiting: the value of the time that is lost while waiting for treatment. One way of estimating the privately borne cost of waiting for care in Canada was originally developed by Steven Globerman and Lorna Hoye (1990). They calculated the cost of waiting by estimating the amount of time that could not be used productively by a patient while waiting for treatment.

The estimated cost of waiting for care in Canada for patients who were in the queue in 2011, according to calculations based on the methodology produced by Globerman and Hoye, was $1.08 billion—an average of about $1,144 for each of the estimated 941,321 Canadians waiting for treatment in 2011. Alternatively, that cost works out to roughly $10,399 for each individual among the 11.0% of patients in the queue who were suffering considerable hardship while waiting for care.

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