Health care is an important and expensive determinant of the public’s health. Provincial governments in Canada now spend more than 45 percent of their budgets on health care services, including hospitals, physicians and drugs. The proportion of tax dollars spent on health care has been growing at an unsustainable rate for several decades. In the United States, 17% (and rising) of the GDP is spent on health care. The amount of money Canadians spend on private health services and products has also been rising.
While there is broad recognition that health care is an important determinant of health, health care service research and public health research have operated in separate institutional silos. Improvements in public health and the factors that determine public health will be dramatically inhibited until we can achieve substantive improvements in the integration and efficiency of health care services, and until we find ways to reform individual health services into an integrated, efficient, and coherent system.
Research in action
Ian McKillop uses his background in accounting and management science to design health information systems, costing and performance measurement tools, as well as ways to protect the security and privacy of health information.
George Heckman’s research is improving the diagnosis and treatment of the frail elderly with complex health issues.
Paul Stolee uses his expertise in program evaluation and informatics to research better ways of using information systems to improve rehabilitative therapy for older persons, and senior’s transition between acute, long term, and rehabilitative care settings.
John Hirdes is an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Chair who designs information, analytic, and assessment tools to improve health care funding as well as clinical decision making in long term care and mental health treatment settings.
Jose Arocha is a cognitive psychologist whose research in health informatics helps improve human-computer interaction, particularly as it relates to health education.