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Nova Scotia Improves Wait Times For Surgical Patients

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A new patient registry will improve surgical wait times by providing more timely and accurate information to district health authorities and doctors.

The Pictou County Health Authority is the first district to go live with the new Patient Access Registry Nova Scotia.

The registry will provide a better understanding of where more surgeries can be performed and where additional resources may be needed. As well, patients will know where they are in the queue, and when they are likely to receive their surgery.

"We are committed to reducing wait times," said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. "We're confident that this registry will help us serve patients faster and make better decisions about where we put our health-care resources."

Health districts have been collecting wait time statistics differently. The provincial registry will be a central database with standard methods of measuring and interpreting wait-time information. The Surgical Care Network is also working to identify and improve factors that can influence a patient's wait for surgery.

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The development of the provincial registry is being led by the Nova Scotia Surgical Care Network, a committee that includes chiefs of surgery and senior clinical leaders from all district health authorities and the IWK, and Department of Health representatives.

All district health authorities will be using the registry by July 2010.

Staff and surgeons have been working with the Department of Health to set up processes and systems to collect the necessary surgical information.

"We are pleased to support an initiative such as this," said Dr. David Archibald, head of surgery for the Pictou County Health Authority. "This partnership will help us better understand patients' wait times at both the local and provincial levels."

The registry will provide surgeons, district health authorities and the Department of Health with the information needed to improve access to surgical services, and enhance communication to patients waiting for surgery.

The $11-million project is being cost-shared by the province, Health Canada and Canada Health Infoway.