Over $5 billion in inefficient healthcare spending

The Québec Medical Association to mobilize and take action to optimize healthcare

MONTREAL, April 8, 2013 -The Québec Medical Association (QMA) estimates that overdiagnosis, overtreatment, gaps in healthcare coordination, hospital-acquired infections, medication errors, preventable incidents, and readmissions at every level of the healthcare system cost an estimated $5 billion that could be better invested in activities that are more important and useful to patients.

Studies show that inappropriate use accounts for at least 20% of all healthcare spending in the United States. Despite the differences between the U.S. and Quebec healthcare systems, there is good reason to believe the situation is similar here according to a new discussion paper released by the QMA today. The situation is undermining the healthcare system and the time has come to do something about it.

"The current economic and financial context is driving the government to spend more and more on health care, but various indicators show the population isn't getting its money's worth," lamented QMA president Dr. Ruth Élaine Vander Stelt. "By working better together, we can focus on activities that are important and useful to the public. The QMA wants to be part of the solution to optimize the quality of care and the efficiency of Quebec's health network. Part of our mission is to constantly improve the quality of health services. Our study is a contribution to this ongoing effort."

"Everyone can chip in. The responsibility for optimizing the Quebec healthcare system lies with the entire medical community, network stakeholders, managers, the government, and patients. Everyone has to do their part," stressed Dr. Vander Stelt. "Doctors have a key role to play. They have the ability and responsibility to lead the way in transforming health care in Quebec."

Drawing from initiatives like "Choosing Wisely" in the U.S., the QMA will set up a working group to coordinate efforts aimed at identifying inappropriate resource use in the healthcare system. This group will then propose strategies to optimize medical acts in five specialities or activity sectors that have undergone special analysis and can be expected to yield results in the short term.

Moreover, Dr. Tom Noseworthy, a physician executive leading several similar initiatives in Alberta, will be in Montreal on April 19 at the annual QMA convention. He will explain how Alberta initiated an action plan to optimize the use of its healthcare resources.

About the QMA

The QMA comprises nearly 10,000 general practitioners, specialists, residents, and medical students. Its mission is to bring together members of Quebec's medical community in a context that promotes reflection and action in order to improve the conditions for practicing medicine and the health of Quebec's population.

Mélissa Bourgoin
Professional Affairs Coordinator
Québec Medical Association