The Response of Provincial Health Systems to COVID-19: Service Provision and Costs Across Health Sectors, First Nations and other populations
The COVID‑19 global pandemic has affected not only health, but also health systems. In Canada, cancer surgery, joint replacements, angioplasties and other procedures have been delayed or cancelled. Changes have occurred across the health system. Patients too have adapted, avoiding care out of personal fear of COVID. These unprecedented changes have not been measured yet. In our study, we plan to measure, in British Columbia and Ontario: – health resource utilization and medical costs for patients with mild, moderate, and severe COVID. -how hospitalizations, physicians services, home care, long term care, and other resources have changed in patients without COVID through the COVID epidemic. In particular, we are interested in the effects on women and men, remote regions of British Columbia and Ontario, and First Nations peoples. We will conduct this study using data from British Columbia and Ontario that describe almost every interaction with the health system. This allows us to have a “population level” look at the health system as a whole. IMPLICATIONS The pandemic is not over yet. We must plan for recurrence, and think about how it will affect other countries who have not yet borne the brunt of infection. Our estimates of COVID costs will be very useful to health modelers who are trying to help develop public policies such as introduction and relaxation of social distancing. Also, looking at health systems as a whole will allow us to plan for system stresses related to COVID resurgence and future pandemics, and ensure that we can meet the needs of Canadians even under conditions of health system strain.