The Price of Good Health
Health-care services and their skyrocketing costs are of increasing concern to Canadians. In November 2002, Roy Romanow submitted the final report of the Royal Commission on the Future of Healthcare in Canada, which analyzed the concerns about health-care services across the country. The report covered the contentious issues of what services should be covered by health plans and whether there should be a role for alternative service providers in the Canadian health-care system.
As the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Health Law and Policy, Colleen Flood is carrying out interdisciplinary research that tackles these issues. She is using a comparative approach and studying the distribution of access to health-care services in low- and middle-income countries such as Mexico, South Africa, and Nigeria-countries that are in the process of laying the foundations of Western-style health-care systems. Flood is looking at the health-care services that are funded in these countries and asking how these countries have decided what would be funded.
Colleen Flood's research is examining three areas in particular. The first area relates to the issues of necessity and effectiveness: if up to 40 per cent of health-care services that physicians recommend are of no proven or low effectiveness, how can we use evidence of effectiveness to ensure the fairest and most efficient allocation of limited resources?
The second area of Dr. Flood's research relates to the role of the public: how can public values and public input into the decision-making process be factored in to include treatments that go beyond mere effectiveness, such as palliative care?
The third area under scrutiny relates to the role of law and legal institutions: do regulations provide barriers or do they facilitate an equitable and efficient health-care system? How can nations establish a legal framework that remains meaningful through changing circumstances?