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As the amount of money needed to supply quality medical care to all Canadians rises, hospitals and other healthcare providers may need to embrace technology like unified communication and collaboration as a service (UCCaaS) solutions to provide quality coverage at lower prices.
In North America, the United States has garnered a reputation for staggeringly high healthcare costs, but that does not means that some of the same price pains are absent in Canada. According to statistics recently compiled by the Fraser Institute, an independent public policy think tank, healthcare costs for all Canadian families have gone up more than 53 percent since 2003, which is twice the rate of average food cost growth over the same period.
Although the specific numbers vary depending on average household income, the Fraser Institute’s findings show that healthcare costs typically equate to about 10 percent of annual income. For example, an unattached person making around $39,000 a year can expect to pay out about $3,780 for public health insurance, and a family of two adults and two children bringing in about $113,000 annually will contribute about $11,320 to the public coffers for these efforts.
“Health care is not free in Canada,” said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute director of health policy studies. “The fact is, Canadian families pay thousands of dollars in taxes every year to cover the cost of public health care insurance. And that cost rose 1.5 times faster than average income over the past decade.”
To combat rising costs, is technology the answer?
Although this study did not look into the specific reasons why costs are rising so quickly in comparison to other financial variables, a separate August report from the Fraser Institute cited Switzerland as a good healthcare delivery model to emulate. Not only is the Swiss system more cost effective, but it also has lower wait times for receiving care. While 45 percent of Canadians have reported getting same-day or next-day appointments, 93 percent of Swiss patients were able to obtain speedy care.
To lower costs and make it easier for Canadians to receive fast, quality care, hospitals and other healthcare providers may want to consider implementing a variety of new technology-based solutions to make operations far more efficient and cost-effective. One tool that can be particularly useful is a UCCaaS system. With such a solution in place, doctors can remotely communicate with patients instead of making them travel and wait to receive care. For example, The Guardian reported in March that hospitals can reduce costs by approximately $3,200 with a telehealth initiative.
Healthcare organizations may quickly realize the benefits that technology like UCCaaS can have on the quality of care provided and the costs of treating patients, but concerns relating to data protection, systems integration and compliance may prevent them from implementing such solutions. To put these concerns to bed once and for all, medical care providers can look to FlexITy, one of Canada’s largest IT consulting services. Not only is FlexITy the sole managed IT services provider in the country that offers the full range of Cisco unified communication solutions, but its team of experts have years of experience helping healthcare organizations lower operating costs and become significantly more efficient.