How Third-Party Services Can Mitigate The Emergency Room Capacity Crisis
A recent open letter penned by nearly 200 emergency room doctors about the collapsing emergency rooms in Alberta has highlighted the urgent need to address the hospital capacity crisis in the province. As healthcare systems face increasing strain, innovative and collaborative solutions are required to alleviate the burden on hospitals and ensure the quality of patient care, particularly in acute healthcare. This article explores how third-party healthcare providers and services, such as Hines Health Services, can support by playing a significant role in mitigating the hospital capacity crisis in Alberta and alleviating the current and increasing pressure on emergency room response.
According to an article in the National Post, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surrounding unprecedented circumstances, began to shed light on the “crisis of Canadian hospital capacity that has been limping along for decades”. Even at the article’s time of publication in 2022 it was stated “Canada currently comes fourth last in terms of intensive care beds available per capita (only Chile, Sweden and Colombia ranked lower). Canada had just 1.97 ICU beds for every 100,000 residents. The top-ranked country, Japan, had 7.74 beds per 100,000”. This suggests that the pandemic both stressed the need and detracted from a solution to this issue.
The Canadian government recently announced an increase of health funding to provinces and territories by $196.1 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding in a plan released in February. While funding, shortage of workers and the lingering impact of the pandemic are all integral pieces to be rectified in the bid to improve hospital capacity, third party health providers may also come alongside emergency care workers by bridging the gap between patients and accessibility to healthcare in a way that relieves pressures on emergency room capacity.
Third Party Healthcare Services Extending Accessibility to Healthcare
In their open letter, physicians blame government policy for destabilizing primary care, leaving an estimated 650,000 Albertans without a family doctor, and in effect, increasing hospital visits.
Third party health care providers, and their community health visits, offer services that expand accessibility to non-acute care without tapping into hospital resources. Third party services such as Hines Health Services for example, provide extra support to residents of a community through homecare and other clinic services, such as IV infusion therapies, dressing changes and other preventative medical care against acute complications.
Specialized Care Outside of Hospitals
By offering specialized healthcare services including primary care, specialty care, diagnostics and rehabilitation services outside of hospitals, third-party providers can alleviate the strain on emergency rooms. This expanded access to care ensures that patients receive timely treatment and reduces the burden on hospital resources. Additionally, third party providers can offer urgent and after-hours care, complementing the services provided by hospitals. By extending their operating hours and providing accessible healthcare options, these providers can help divert non-acute cases away from emergency rooms, allowing hospitals to prioritize critical cases and reduce wait times.
At Home Care
A further article references that solving the hospital capacity crisis, requires better care for seniors, given a sixth of Ontario’s hospital beds are occupied by people who no longer require hospital care but cannot go home safely, triggering a domino effect. As of 2022, there were more than 6,000 patients in hospitals designated “alternate level of care,” or ALC. At home and community health visits may be able to mitigate this issue by providing this ALC hospitals do not have capacity for by ensuring seniors and other patients are able to receive the care they need to return home safely.
Disability management and ensuring appropriate accommodations are made to the home and workplace, minimizes the impact of workplace or at-home injuries or illness on hospital capacity. Workplace injury care management and first aid services are considered a focus by some third-party providers like Hines Health Services, providing immediate medical attention, follow-up care and assistance with injury management, contributing to timely and appropriate treatment and potentially reducing the need for hospital visits and relieving strain.
Remote Medical Services and On-Site Services
Finally, third party services may offer remote medical services and on-site testing, which can be particularly valuable in remote or resource-constrained areas. By providing healthcare services directly on-site, they can support hospitals by offering timely medical care, testing, and offer care in locations where access to hospitals may be limited. These services can include vaccinations preventing acute patients in the long term.
The hospital capacity crisis in Alberta requires innovative and collaborative solutions to ensure timely and quality healthcare for all residents. Third-party healthcare providers, such as Hines Health Services, can play a crucial role in alleviating the strain on hospitals. By expanding access to care, offering urgent and after-hours services, promoting a collaborative care model, leveraging technology, and emphasizing preventive care, these providers contribute to a more efficient and sustainable healthcare system, in a way allows hospitals to focus on acute patient care. It is through such collaborative efforts that Alberta can navigate the hospital capacity crisis and deliver better healthcare outcomes for its population.
Our varied scope of services includes a local assessment clinic, mobile services, on-site testing, staffing and remote medical services, as well as a dedicated Emergency Medical Division.