Regionalization: Making Sense of the Canadian Experience

Steven Lewis and Denise Kouri

This paper revisits the purposes and achievements of regionalization, a decade after its widespread implementation across Canada, and considers to what extent changes in healthcare concepts, emphasis and delivery can reasonably be attributed to it. The paper answers four main questions. What, conceptually, is regionalization in healthcare, and what distinguishes it as a structure? How was regionalization intended to contribute to the achievement of the goals for the health system articulated in the 1980s and 1990s? How has regionalization been implemented in Canada, and how have these factors affected its potential to achieve its intended impact? And finally, with the experience gained over the last decade, how might we now (re}design regionalization to better contribute to health system goals?

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