The findings in Measuring Up 2019 show that parts of the system are working well or improving.
Ontarians should be able to feel secure that they are receiving the best possible health care, in a timely way. They should also be able to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are being supported in navigating the health system, no matter how much or little they know about health care or how the system works. That’s what it means to have a quality health system.
This year’s Measuring Up report on the performance of the province’s health system focuses on a set of 10 key indicators and is based on the Quadruple Aim of health care improvement: better health outcomes, better patient experience, better provider experience, and better value and efficiency.
The findings show that parts of the system are working well or improving. The proportion of cancer surgeries completed within the recommended maximum wait time increased substantially in the last decade. More Ontarians say they are able to email their primary care provider when they have a medical question, compared to five years ago. Most people who were hospitalized say they received enough information about what to do if they had problems after leaving hospital. And provincially, we are keeping tabs on workplace violence and working to create more supportive workplaces for our health care professionals.
Many patients fall through the cracks as they move between different areas of care.
But the report also reveals key areas where improvement is needed. Many patients must navigate the health system on their own, with limited information, and face barriers or fall through the cracks as they move between different areas of care. For example, patients often have difficulty accessing their own health records. Or, they wait for hours in the emergency department to get admitted to a hospital bed. Once admitted, they may get stuck in the hospital for months as they wait for care elsewhere.
This kind of overcrowding in hospitals often results in patients being treated in hallways. But hallway health care doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Problems elsewhere in the health system often contribute to hospital overcrowding. Wait times for long-term care homes continue to be an issue. Many patients are struggling to access home care to meet their needs. People often have trouble seeing their family doctor or other primary care provider when they’re sick or have a health problem. Plus, many patients with mental health and addiction issues make frequent visits to emergency departments.
Measuring Up shows where there are opportunities to do better.
This report also highlights the need for many changes, including better use of technology for patients to have control over their own care through easy access to their health information, and for patients to be able to choose whether they interact with health care providers face-to-face or digitally. When implemented correctly, these digital tools will enable health care professionals, who are facing increasing levels of stress and burnout, to share information more easily.
The Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine, and others, have called for transformative change in how care is provided. The newly formed Ontario Health will play a key role in that transformation by bringing together under one roof the combined knowledge, strengths and experience of many health agencies. That collective expertise will tackle pressing issues like mental health and digital access to information and care, and will also be applied for the benefit of all Ontarians, in all areas of care, through one strategy and one set of priorities.
Our goals at Ontario Health are to improve patient care and supports to health care professionals, ensure patients can move smoothly between health care providers, improve patient experience, and obtain better value for our health dollars.
Measuring Up can guide Ontario Health toward these goals, for the benefit of patients, their family and friend caregivers, and the health care professionals who keep the system working each day.
Bill HatanakaBoard Chair, Ontario Health
Patients, families and the public are central to improving health quality.
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