by Nadeem Esmail
March 31, 2014
The measurement of health care waiting times is only one way of looking at the burden of waiting for health care. We can also calculate the privately borne cost of waiting: the value of the time that is lost while waiting for treatment. The estimated cost of waiting for care in Canada for patients who were in the queue in 2013 was $1.1 billion—an average of about $1,202 for each of the estimated 928,120 Canadians waiting for treatment in 2013. The estimate is conservative; it assumes that only those hours during the average work week should be counted as lost. Valuing all waking hours of the week would increase the estimated cost of waiting to slightly more than $3.4 billion, or about $3,681 per person. Increased risk of mortality or adverse events that result directly from long treatment delays are not included in this estimate.