Rosie, Kate Gordon’s five-year-old daughter, was only one day in her Toronto kindergarten class when her younger sister, Nose Carey, sprouted. That means Rosie or Stella, who attends Montessori preschool, will not be able to return to class until they have tested negative for Stella, 3, COVID-19.
So the next morning, the family went to the nearest COVID-19 test site at St. Joseph’s Health Center on the west end of the city.
“By the time we got there at 8:45, there was a lineup around the building,” Gordon said, as her husband was able to pick up the girls in a three-hour wait.
Although Gordon decides to catch himself for a good measure while they are there, Stella only needs one test. When the real trouble of her family began.
Gordon obtained her own test results 36 hours later using MyChart, an online tool adopted by some hospitals, including St. Joseph’s. “But the problem is you have to be 14 and over to use it. I can use it for myself, but for Stella I had to check this government website,” she said.
Gordon, frustrated, posted about his experience on a local Facebook group and received a private message from another mother with a phone number and email address for the hospital release, three days without result for Stella. Information Department.
After a series of emails and form submissions, Gordon received Stella’s negative results on the fifth day, and six days after school, the girls were able to return to class.
When it comes to the COVID-19 test, stories by doctors and people in the business world like Gordans are wondering why Canada has not had a better and more consistent consumer experience.
“In 2020, it’s really embarrassing that this is the best response we have ever received,” said Dr. Louis Franciscutti, an emergency room physician, preventive medicine specialist and professor at the University of Alberta School of Public Health University in Edmonton.
Gordon was careful to make it clear to staff working in the front row at testing centers and labs that she did not have beef. She said the people she treated were “lovely”. “I really feel for these people who work there. They’re doing their job.”
But she said she was concerned about how low-rights people would deal with children dropping out of school and waiting too long for exams that would jeopardize their employment. “I don’t know how they will survive.”
A unified approach is needed
As cases increase in the most populous areas of Canada, the process of obtaining a test can be severely frustrating from the seamless (pre-booked appointments get recipients in minutes and out) (you can try your luck in an hourly lineup) before you can go ahead).
For example, every day last week, people turned up early in the morning at the Drop-in COVID-19 Assessment Center in Brookville, Camel, because – with people coming from all over the area – it had already increased in number that people could see that day.
In contrast, people like Denise McIntyre in Calgary – who gets tested every few weeks so she can visit a friend at a long-term care home, where she also volunteers – said she had no trouble getting an appointment at a local pharmacy. “I’ll call now and they’ll tell you if they have time today or tomorrow.”
The results did not take more than 48 hours, McIntyre said.
It should not be too volatile, Franciscutti said, adding that the sweep takes less than a minute so it does not make sense for people to be in line for hours.
“If I want to repair my Apple product, I go online, sign in to a genius bar and pick a store near me that has the service. Then I go to the store, I do the service and I leave. I have access to technology that allows a lot of people to pre-book. “
Of course, he said more vulnerable groups, such as seniors and people facing homelessness, need help accessing testing “in this field,” but there is no reason why technology should not solve most problems, especially if applied everywhere in the country.
“We got 10 provinces and three territories … doing it all one by one. We need to be more integrated and we have to have the best practices after they have been shown to work in different areas, replicate and expand as quickly as we can.”
The mobile app improves the process
Mark Lequier, Canada’s general manager at a software company service that specializes in digital workflows, said a mobile app to book appointments could solve the long-line problem at many test sites.
From their nephew’s Facebook pictures to their favorite curry chicken – mobile is the perfect delivery system – Lecuire says many people are accustomed to using mobile apps to access all sorts of things they want or need.
It allows operators to capture user experiences and adapt accordingly.
We need to put on customer, citizen shoes and understand their expectations – I show up at a test center, get my test done and get my results in a timely manner.– Mark Lequier, General Manager, Service Canada
“We need to put on customer, citizen shoes and understand their expectations – I will show up at a test center, get my test and get my results in a timely manner,” he said.
LeCuyer said it’s like running an airport without a reservation system, expecting people to wait for hours without knowing if the COVID-19 test will even come that day.
“Can you imagine the airline just saying that flights to these places depart every hour; show me now and we’ll pick you up on the plane?”
Liquor said he hopes for public sector employees trying to navigate this complex situation within the confines of a vast public health system, but a tool that expands the territory of 10 regional and three territories will remove much of the frustration and confusion.
“At the end of the day, everything is possible. We have to overcome obstacles.”
Lauren Cypriano, an associate professor of management science at the Ivy Business School at Western University London, who also works in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, said the average waiting time can be estimated in mathematics as demand increases.
Ensuring that there is adequate service capacity in the process is very essential, from cleaning to getting results. “We need those COVID results so people can work on information, isolate and not infect others,” she said.
“If the waiting time is long or – when we get into cold weather – conditions are low, people are not going.”
Lack of public health care delivery
Dr. Michael Rachlis, a private consultant in health policy analysis and an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said that complicating the testing process is what we really lack public health care delivery.
“There is no primary care system like in other countries, there is a health center in your neighborhood that sees everyone who needs to be seen, and if we are going to run a testing program or vaccination program, it will be done there.”
Instead, family practice clinics are small businesses, and only in some parts of Canada are regional health officials with clinics who oversee how certain public health programs are distributed.
Jeff Lozon, former Deputy Health Minister of Ontario, is also president of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
“Canadians generally think their health care system is a command and control, so the health minister will say something and they will have control over it. But in reality, the health care system is far more distributed. It’s much less hierarchical than you think.”
Michael Carter, an industrial and systems engineer who specializes in smoothing health care delivery, advises on the COVID-19 test.
He suggests that within the scope of making the tests available to everyone, it would be more effective to have separate sites for those with and without symptoms. That way exam staff don’t waste time asking people who don’t have the trait – often the majority – to have the same list of questions about how they feel, said Carter, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Toronto.
“If we can get asymptomatic people to go to a public place and stand in a minute and get in in a minute, you’re in business.”