Health care technology in Canada (with special reference to Quebec)
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In Canada, all citizens are insured for health services. Health care is a provincial responsibility. The federal role is limited to health care financing, health protection including regulation of pharmaceuticals, and environmental health. The health care system represents a balance among government direction, consumer choice, and provider autonomy. Canada has largely controlled the costs of health care by funding and management mechanisms, the most important of which is the global budget formula used to fund hospitals. This paper discusses the Canadian health care system, with particular emphasis on the province of Quebec. In 1988, the provincial government of Quebec established the first Canadian body dedicated to technology assessment. Since then, a national coordinating office and several other provincial bodies have developed. The work of these and other evaluation efforts has had a growing influence on technology management decisions, particularly those dealing with procurement of capital-intensive technologies. Expanding this influence into the realm of technology use, especially for low-cost, high-volume technologies, remains a challenge.
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