It is only appropriate that the biggest conference in Canada, and one of the biggest in the world focused exclusively on health quality, should look with blunt honesty at the challenges of providing quality health care in 2018.
It is equally clear from listening and talking to the frontline health care professionals, patients, family members and others who made up the 3,000 delegates attending our Health Quality Transformation conference, that those present are willing to meet these challenges and uphold the six principles upon which quality care should be based - efficiency, timeliness, safety, effectiveness, patient-centredness and equity.
Often marked by uncertainty and anxiety, the transition from hospital to home can be a confusing time for patients and their caregivers.
These transitions from one health care team or organization to another have long been recognized as challenging times in a patient’s journey through the health care system.
A growing body of evidence from Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom is providing compelling evidence of improved quality outcomes as a result of using health information technologies (HIT), and Health Quality Ontario has identified HIT as an enabler of quality care.
Evidence from these jurisdictions has shown that electronic medical records and other forms of HIT can improve patient safety, improve patient outcomes and make providers more effective and efficient, as well as aid faster adoption of evidence to practice. These technologies can also facilitate quality care by providing better data on which to base clinical, policy and funding decisions.
According to a recent report from Health Quality Ontario, 9 Million Prescriptions, one in seven Ontarians fills a prescription for opioids every year. More than 9 million prescriptions for opioids were filled in the province in 2015/16. Canada remains the second-largest consumer of prescription opioids in the world, after the US.
Unfortunately, many patients are receiving these highly addictive drugs, from both legitimate and illicit sources, with only questionable benefit. This is a complex problem involving many health care providers and many interwoven factors compounding the situation.
While physicians are faced with the challenges of treating patients with often complex disorders and few resources, more appropriate prescribing by all physicians is part of the solution.
Variations in care received by Ontario residents, based on where they live or certain demographic factors, can indicate a lack of quality in a health care system.
The recent report prepared for Health Quality Ontario titled Quality Matters: Realizing Excellent Care for All acknowledges the existence of unwarranted variations in care and the negative impact they can have on patients. This was also a key theme in last year’s Measuring Up report from Health Quality Ontario which noted that, while Ontario was generally doing a good job of providing care to all who needed it, “unacceptable variation” still existed by geography and population groups.