The UBC’s Department of Family Practice team reached out to me and many others earlier this year to participate in an ongoing research study to understand rural and remote community priorities for health care across British Columbia: the Rural Evidence Review project (led by Dr. Jude Kornelsen). The Rural Evidence Review (RER) has funding under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research to work with rural citizens to provide high-quality and useful evidence for rural health care planning in BC. To do this, they ask rural citizens about the health care priorities that matter the most to their communities and share what they learn with policy- and decision-makers, and rural communities across BC. Cortes Island residents have a lot of experience with this, therefor I highly recommend you participate in the survey if you have the time to do so.
They heard from survey participants about the difficulties that they have experienced when travelling to other communities for care, including financial costs to patients and their families (costs that are not often considered when services are planned). To follow up, they have created a survey to understand patients' out-of-pocket costs when travelling for health care. The voices and experiences of rural citizens-patients are critical for health care planning. They will use the findings to create a complete understanding of what it costs when health services are not available locally. As always, they will share the findings with the Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health, and rural communities across BC.