BC Women’s Health Foundation launches In Her Words report

On October 9th, 2019 the BC Women’s Health Foundation, in partnership with Pacific Blue Cross, released the In Her Words report, exposing women’s experience with the healthcare system in BC.

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The report is informed by a survey of 1000 BC women aged 16 and older, and was designed to assess women’s experience with accessing needed care, and their perceptions of interactions with healthcare providers. There was also an effort to understand the unique needs of Indigenous women.

The Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI) played a role in the formation of the report, through informing the original survey questions, and contributing re-analysis of data, and data interpretation. Data collection was led by the Mustel group and Reciprocal Consulting.

The report illuminated differences in experiences among women, based on age, geographic location, or whether or not they were Indigenous. These intersections compound negative experiences within the BC healthcare system, with staggering numbers like 3 in 5 mature women reporting their symptoms were diminished or overlooked by a healthcare professional, or that 83% of Indigenous women aged 16-24 reported challenges accessing the medical care they needed.

“We’ve seen research that women see on average five to seven providers over three to five years before they receive an accurate diagnosis,” Dr. Lori Brotto, Executive Director of the WHRI , told the Vancouver Sun. “The report illustrated in a numeric form with a representative sample of B.C. women what we hear clinically: Women feel misunderstood, misdiagnosed, diagnosed too late, over-pathologized with certain conditions such as chronic pain.”

Throughout the report, real women share stories about their experiences within our healthcare system. Their messages are a powerful call-to-action for policy makers, healthcare providers, health researchers, funders, and other stakeholders to pay attention and believe women’s experiences, and to work toward closing the health gap.

Read In Her Words on the BC Women’s Health Foundation site.

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