How can Canadians find help when they need it?

About three-quarters of Canadians said they had difficulty obtaining health-care information when going through a hospital or their doctor’s office for the first time, according to the latest analysis of EKOS Research results from data from the 2018 Canadian Health Needs Assessment, a national survey on health-care needs. That’s more than double the percentage of Canadian respondents who reported that they had difficulties in their last year of health care when they did not have a doctor’s appointment — with nearly one-quarter indicating that they had difficulty in obtaining information from their doctor during their last month of treatment or care. The data is drawn from approximately 47,000 Canadians who participated in C-HNA.

About half of Canadians also reported feeling that health care providers were “overburdened,” the survey found. These findings are in line with a recent CareSource survey of Canadians who received health care in 2018, which found that 45 percent said their physician or specialist was overburdened and 44 percent said their hospital was overburdened. Canadian Health Costs & Institute survey also found that one-third of Canadians reported that they were “overwhelmed” by the costs of health care and one-quarter reported that they did not have enough money to pay for the health care that they were entitled to receive.

One reason for these findings is that Canadians have access to a modern medical system that can be used to manage their care and offer alternatives. The vast majority of Canadians who participated in the EKOS Survey reported being satisfied with the care they received at the hospital and at their doctor’s office, as well as the quality of their doctor’s or hospital’s expertise. And three-quarters of Canadians said they would recommend their doctor or hospital to a friend or neighbor, a finding that is consistent with a previous study that looked at social media posts from Canadians who had had the opportunity to post about their care. A fall report released in September 2018 on social media conversations in the United States also found that Americans were more likely to say that they were happy and satisfied with their health care experiences than to write down complaints or ask for help.

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