We’re all equal but this doesn’t mean we’re all the same

May we always have the freedom to ask the difficult questions and the courage to seek the difficult answers

We’re all equal but this doesn’t mean we’re all the sameOver the years, I’ve found that being authentic is one of the most important qualities I need to display with my students. From time to time, this requires me to admit that I’m wrong. I once corrected a student who was putting on a stereotypical Indigenous accent. His reply was, “I’m part Indigenous, this is…

Turning the tide on the harm of opioids

Doctors must discuss pain management options with patients and not jump to the prescription pad for a quick fix

Turning the tide on the harm of opioidsBy Dr. Wendy Levinson University of Toronto and Dr. Laurent Marcoux As clinicians, we’re bound by professionalism and our ethical responsibilities to do no harm, and to do what we can to address the pain and suffering of our patients. When powerful pain-relieving opioid medications were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed to be…

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medications

By thinking twice before prescribing and talking with patients about the risks of medications, clinicians are tackling overuse

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medicationsBy Karen Born and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Canadians are living longer than ever and we are also taking more medications than ever. And this can make us sicker, not healthier. A report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that one in four seniors in Canada take 10 or more medications. That’s…

Canada’s health system fails the elderly

Solving long hospital wait times requires a fundamental shift in the way we care for the elderly

Canada’s health system fails the elderlyBy David Wiercigroch University of Toronto and Caberry Weiyang Yu Queen's University Hospital overcrowding is not a new issue. Limited bed spaces have plagued Ontario hospitals for years and are increasingly straining our system. Not only are long wait times a shameful expectation when patients arrive in the emergency department, providing care in a busy…

How to shorten hospital wait times in Canada

We can address the supply of surgical procedures, the demand for surgery and improve co-ordination within the system

How to shorten hospital wait times in CanadaLong wait times are the vulnerable soft underbelly of the Canadian health system. Canadians treasure our single-payer, publicly-funded program of physician and hospital care, virtually as a defining part of our national identity. And yet, increasing legal and political pressure over quick access to elective surgeries – cataract extraction and joint replacement, for example –…

Why won’t Canada stand up to Purdue Pharma?

The opioid manufacturer admits to illegal activity in the U.S., stops ads there and pays hundreds of millions in penalties. In Canada, it's business as usual

Why won’t Canada stand up to Purdue Pharma?By Nav Persaud University of Toronto and Andrew S. Boozary University Health Network Canadians are paying dearly for government inaction over the opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma recently announced that it will stop advertising opioids to doctors in the United States after pleading guilty to misleading marketing more than a decade ago. This is a major,…

Health-care is stuck in a decades-old communication model

Patients want to book appointments online, track the status of their referrals and access their records. That all requires political leadership

Health-care is stuck in a decades-old communication modelTechnology has revolutionized how we live, play and work. We don’t think twice about using an app to make a restaurant reservation, track a parcel’s expected delivery date online or ask an online agent questions about a product we want to purchase. In many ways, technology has also revolutionized medicine. We’ve developed drugs, designed devices…

When prescriptions do more harm than good

A new national program has pharmacists dispensing advice on how to curb harmful medications, particularly for seniors

When prescriptions do more harm than goodBy Phil Emberley Canadian Pharmacists Association and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Pharmacists should be talking to patients about stopping or tapering dangerous medications, like benzodiazepines, to help curb long-term use and dependency. Sleep doesn’t come easy as we age. Take Ilsa, a 78-year-old recent widow. Since her husband passed away, she has slept poorly. A…

Include people living with frailty in health-care decision-making

Older Canadians say their top priorities are better co-ordinated care systems and more community and home-based supports

Include people living with frailty in health-care decision-makingBy Katherine McGilton University of Toronto and John Muscedere Canadian Frailty Network More than one million Canadians are medically frail – approximately 25 per cent of those are over age 65 and 50 per cent past age 85. The aging of Canadian society and the growing number of older adults living with frailty poses unprecedented societal…