Coast Salish Territory – Vancouver, BC - The First Nations Health Authority has released the Health System Matrix Utilization report which shows how First Nations in BC are using provincial health services. The report compares First Nations to other provincial residents on per capita use and costs across a number of health conditions and use factors. The Health System Matrix dataset includes data on hospitals, physicians, and other services as well as chronic conditions.
The report covers key findings from 2008-2015 and includes clinical evidence to support a road map to better health outcomes. Among other findings, the report reveals that First Nations have lower rates of attachment to physician services and that First Nations are utilizing emergency rooms at higher rates than other residents for primary care services.
"This report is an example of the opportunity of partnerships for First Nations to gain the ability to utilize data on their families and communities, to better health outcomes alongside work with our provincial service partners," said Dr. Evan Adams, Chief Medical Officer with the FNHA. "The data in the report tells us we have a lot more work to do to attach our citizens to care, working closely with our health authority and other partners."
The report was made possible by reviewing visits of Status First Nations resident in BC with general practitioners and medical specialists, and their utilization of mental health and substance use services, diagnostics, ambulatory care, and other categories. The First Nations reported hospitalization rate for ambulatory care sensitive conditions was higher than the general population. This higher rate suggests that First Nations went to hospital for health concerns that should have been dealt with earlier in primary care thus preventing a later need for hospitalization.
The release of the information is intended to support community leaders and health policy-makers to improve health system performance for First Nations. It provides a first of its kind evidence-base enabling First Nations, and regional health authority partners to plan and work together.
Data may also be used to support population health promotion at individual and community levels to reduce rates of chronic conditions among First Nations and improve overall health service and primary care access in communities to reduce emergency department admissions, particularly for the elderly, children and youth.
"This report, developed and released in accordance with First Nations data governance processes, provides a significant body of new evidence to support First Nations to work alongside our health system partners to undertake planning, decision-making, and investment," said Richard Jock, Chief Operating Officer, with the FNHA.
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