The Ontario government has targeted funds to reduce wait times in five areas: cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, cataract surgery, hip and knee replacements, and MRI and CT exams. Tied to the increases in funding was the requirement that hospitals begin collecting and reporting information on wait times in the targeted areas.
This study's objective is to assess whether variations in waiting times have meaningful implications for patient outcomes. To address the fact that differences in waiting times across individuals are correlated with their underlying health, investigators will instead focus on variation in waiting times resulting from the new funding for cardiac procedures, and from the “regression discontinuity” arising from the cutoffs in severity categorization for those on the waiting list for cardiac surgery. The investigators will use data on subsequent medical utilization and health outcomes to assess the impacts of waiting time variation.