Ever wondered how the Ontario health system works? You can find answers in a book edited by the McMaster Health Forum's director, entitled 'Ontario's health system: Key insights for engaged citizens, professionals and policymakers.' The goal of this book is to help make the system more understandable to students, the professionals who work in it (and future professionals who will one day work in it), citizens who pay for it and are served by it, and the policymakers who govern it.

"McMaster University is renowned for producing and synthesizing the best available research evidence in the health and healthcare fields," said John Lavis, director of the McMaster Health Forum. "I'm excited about the opportunities this new book offers to students and faculty members seeking to achieve impacts with research evidence. Understanding how the Ontario health system currently works is critical to making it work better."

The book is also meant to make the health system more understandable to the citizens who pay for it and are served by it, the professionals who work in it (and future professionals who will one day work in it), and the policymakers who govern it.

The full book is available for purchase on Amazon.ca (and for individuals outside of Canada on Amazon.com). If you are interested in particular topics (e.g., how money flows or how the primary care sector functions), the McMaster Health Forum is making individual book chapters freely available on its website.

Here are some additional details about the book:

  • Part 1 describes the 'building blocks' of the system, including who gets to make what decisions (governance arrangements), how money flows through the system (financial arrangements), and what and who make up the system's infrastructure and workforce (delivery arrangements).
  • Part 2 explains how the building blocks are used to provide: 1) care in each of six sectors – home and community care, primary care, specialty care, rehabilitation care, long-term care, and public health; 2) care for four conditions or groupings of conditions – mental health and addictions, work-related injuries and diseases, cancer, and end-of-life; 3) care using select treatments – prescription and over-the-counter drugs, complementary and alternative therapies, and dental services; and 4) care for Indigenous peoples.
  • Part 3 describes recent and planned reforms to the system and assesses how the health system is performing.
  • The system is complex, so 66 tables and 25 figures have been included to aid understanding, including 16 'at-a-glance' figures that summarize the policies, programs, places and people that are key to understanding particular types of care.

To stay up to date with new book-related developments (such as the eBook being planned) and more generally with the latest news and evidence from the McMaster Health Forum, subscribe to their monthly e-newsletter and follow them on Twitter (@MacHealthForum) and Facebook.

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