Where can I find out the statistics concerning wait times for medical procedures?

Where’s the best place to find out the statistics concerning how long people have to wait, on average, for various medical procedures in various countries?

I doubt there is anyplace those are recorded for various countries.

And just how do you define ‘wait time’? When does it start?

After 4-1/2 years of work, we finally persuaded my mother to have hip replacement surgery. Then she saw the doctor on Tuesday, and had the surgery Thursday morning. Do the 4-1/2 years since this was first recommended count as wait time?

P.S. This was covered by Medicare, one of those inefficient, government-run socialized medicine programs. If it had been done under private insurance, no doubt it would have been done faster than 2 days, I’m sure.

You’re going to have to do a lot of searches, I would think. Nobody’s going to have an accurate accounting of wait times in all countries, and even WITHIN countries you’ll have difference answers, because such things often vary by jurisdiction. Canada, for instance, doesn’t really have one “medicare” system. Every province has its own.

And, in any event, such things are best guesses. People’s medical histories are confidential, after all, and not easily mined for data.

This actually is something that is widely researched. Anonymized health information is made available to researchers. To find out much information, you’re probably going to need an academic library, though, probably at a university with a medical school.

Here are some examples of the types of studies that are done.

International comparison of waiting times for selected cardiovascular procedures
Richard J. Carroll MD, ScM, FACCa, , Susan D. Horn PhDa, *, †, Bjorn Soderfeldt DrMedSci, PhDa, ‡, Brent C. James MD, MStata, * and Lars Malmberg MD, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 25, Issue 3, 1 March 1995, Pages 557-563

“Results. Significant differences in waiting times (p < 0.00001) were found among the systems for all four scenarios (elective and urgent angiography, elective and urgent bypass surgery). Compared with non-VA hospitals in the United States, waiting times were significantly longer in all systems, with the exception of waiting times for urgent surgery in the U.S. VA hospitals (p = 0.9). The longest waiting times for all four procedures were reported in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Canada, with some waiting times for elective procedures >9 months.”

Waiting Times for Surgical Procedures, Author(s): Carolyn DeCoster, Keumhee Chough Carriere, Sandra Peterson, Randy Walld and Leonard MacWilliam
Source: Medical Care, Vol. 37, No. 6, Supplement: Academics at the Policy Interface: Revisiting the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation and Its Population-Based Health Information System (Jun., 1999), pp. JS187-JS205

Results (my paraphrase): Waiting times didn’t change over a 5-year period.

Waiting Times for Knee-Replacement Surgery in the United States and Ontario
Peter C. Coyte, James G. Wright, Gillian A. Hawker, Claire Bombardier, Robert S. Dittus, John E. Paul, Deborah A. Freund, and Elsa Ho, NEJM, Volume 331:1068-1071 October 20, 1994 Number 16

"Conclusions Waiting times for initial orthopedic consultation and for knee-replacement surgery were longer in Ontario than in the United States, but overall satisfaction with surgery was similar. "

The Province of Ontario has been trying to make wait time information more accessible. Look here.