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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

BERNAL, E.. Has the time arrived for the management of waiting lists?. Gac Sanit [online]. 2002, vol.16, n.5, pp. 436-439. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112002000500010.

Individuals on the waiting list frequently suffer an additional risk caused by the mean time until they receive treatment; however, other individuals do not need the treatment for which they are waiting. Both arguments, which can be contrasted with empirical evidence, would be sufficient to affirm that waiting list management should be implemented, leaving aside policies that are more of less opportunistic. Opportunistic policies are understood as those providing misinformation on waiting lists or their "manipulation", and using programs of auto-coordination with the sole aim of reaching the end of the year without a waiting list of not more than six months, etc. The panorama is not completely bleak. Some management initiatives (and even Politics with a capital P) are opening the way forward and may enter the Agenda in the next few years. In this context, the application of guaranteed times of medical care or the prioritization of waiting lists according to explicit criteria should be highlighted. It is worth remembering that, except for the queues in the waiting rooms of health centers and emergency departments, waiting lists are mediated by the decision of the physician. Therefore, an essential strategy for managing waiting lists consists of attenuating the problems caused by uncertainty (or ignorance) of the patient's diagnosis or prognosis.

Keywords : Waiting lists; Healthcare management; Healthcare policy.

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