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PSAGE 2015 was a short survey conducted April 20th – 24th to provide a snapshot of how long Canadian children are waiting for digestive and liver disease consultation and procedures. Specialists recorded 7-8 data points on at least five new, consecutive consults and five new, consecutive procedure patients (outpatients only).

Who Could Participate?

Pediatric Gastroenterologists were requested to participate, provided they record the date that patients are first referred.

The CAG is committed to exploring gastroenterology wait times concerns in Canadian children in order to ultimately improve access.

In 2008, CAG designed the Survey of Access to GastroEnterology (SAGE) program to provide a snapshot of wait times related to the 18 non-urgent indications referenced in the Canadian consensus on medically acceptable wait times for digestive health care. Survey findings identified the median wait times for gastroenterology services predominantly in adults continues to exceed recommended targets.

The pediatric gastroenterology participation in previous SAGE surveys was poor. Thus, the results did not reflect the true wait times for Canadian children.

The CAG is committed to exploring gastroenterology wait times concerns in Canadian children in order to ultimately improve access. PSAGE 2015 is the newly developed survey dedicated to address this concern with specific indications tailored for Canadian children.

The survey includes ten one-time, physician demographic questions, as well as seven questions per consult and eight questions per procedure patient (less than 1 minute per patient entry).

To view a sample of the PSAGE 2015 survey, click here.

NOTE: The program is now CLOSED.

The CAG has obtained ethics approval from a national ethics review group and some provinces, which have a central ethics review, have also signed off. You will know your local circumstances best, but this is not a study so much as a practice audit; no patient identifiers are being collected.

The CAG feels that PSAGE is a quality assurance/practice audit project which should not warrant ethics review because:

  • PSAGE collects the minimum amount of information per patient needed to monitor wait times
  • PSAGE does not collect patient identifiers: none of the identifiers of patient name, patient initials, sex, date of birth or numeric identifier is recorded.
  • The very general information captured, and lack of typical identifiers as noted above, does not allow for identification of a particular patient. Thus, the patient and their information remain anonymous.
  • Individual data entries in PSAGE are not useful and will not be reported; rather it is only the aggregate results from all patients that will be reported to provide a view to wait times.
  • PSAGE is a survey; it does not involve any patient intervention or change in how patients are managed and thus carries no risk to the patient.

Thus, PSAGE is intended to be completed at sites where the local ethics committee review is not required – the CAG is not asking physicians to submit to and obtain ethics committee approval.

PSAGE will provide data on:

  • The waiting time to consultation (time between when the patient is first referred and the specialist consultation)
  • The waiting time to procedure (time between the specialist consultation and when the procedure is performed), and
  • Total waiting time (time between when the patient is first referred and the procedure is performed) for the pre-identified indications

Statistical analyses will be performed on aggregate findings (nationally and possibly regionally) from PSAGE, which will form the basis of communications on current wait times for pediatric gastroenterology consultation and procedures; individual results will not be reported. Aggregate provincial/regional findings (no individual results) can also be made available to the respective provincial/regional gastroenterology society to support local advocacy and health care access improvements.

The core PSAGE Advisory Group includes

    Jason Yap (Chair), University of Alberta, AB
    Pushpa Sathya, Memorial University, St. John, NL
    Angela Noble, Dalhousie University, NS
    Margaret Boland, University of Ottawa, ON
    Herbert Brill, McMaster University, ON
    Wael El- Matary, University of Manitoba, MB