Web site tracks quality of cancer care
TORONTO – The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO) and Cancer Care
Ontario (CCO) have launched the Cancer System Quality Index – a
Web-based tool for tracking cancer and the quality of cancer services in
Ontario. It can be reached via the web at:
Said to be the first of its kind in North America, the index evaluates
progress against cancer and points out where prevention, treatment and
care improvements can be made.
The index, developed by cancer clinical, policy and research experts,
has 25 indicators that measure:
• How accessible services are to patients – including how long patients
have to wait for chemotherapy and radiation therapy at various sites
across the province;
• The quality of treatment – including measurements of cancer death
rates, deaths after surgery rates, and patient satisfaction with cancer
• How efficiently resources are being used – including the use of tools
such as Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) systems;
• How Ontarians are affected by cancer and cancer risk factors;
• Our ability to understand and measure quality improvements.
(Significantly, CCO is not yet able to monitor diagnostic imaging
services for cancer care patients, an area that is targeted for
baseline measure is an important first step to what we hope will be a
full and complete assessment of the cancer system in Ontario,” said
Michael Decter (pictured at left), chair, CQCO.
“Publicly tracking our progress and areas for improvement will bring
attention to quality issues so that we can reduce the number of people
getting cancer and improve the lives of those who do.”
“The Cancer System Quality Index is an important initiative that is
consistent with the government’s plan to improve the quality of care for
patients in Ontario,” said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George
Smitherman. “Together, with our wait times strategy and the emerging
Ontario Health Quality Council, we will be well positioned to achieve
the best possible health care results for Ontarians.”
More than 50,000 Ontarians are diagnosed with cancer each year and one
out of every three will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their
lives. Progress against the disease can be seen in improved cancer
survival rates – the five-year survival rate now exceeds 50 percent for
“We have made significant progress against cancer in Ontario,” said
Terrence Sullivan, PhD, president and chief executive officer, CCO.
“Ontarians who get cancer are receiving good quality care and are living
better, longer lives than ever before. To make sure that we continue to
make progress, we need to know where we can make more improvements and
focus our energies on these areas.”
The Cancer System Quality Index points out areas of the cancer system
where quality improvements can be made.
With some exceptions, patients are receiving good quality cancer care,
but waiting times for care are steady or slowly increasing, and access
to care varies across the province. Too many Ontarians are likely to get
cancer in the future, due to an aging and growing population, and too
many Ontarians are increasing their risk for cancer due to unhealthy
More Ontarians are being screened for some cancers, but overall there is
too little screening to detect cancer earlier, when treatments are more
Our ability to track cancer at the point of diagnosis is better than
ever before, but real-time information that would improve our ability to
make course corrections quickly is not yet available.
“Clinicians all want to do a good job and the Cancer System Quality
Index will help us do better,” said Carol Sawka, provincial
vice-president, clinical programs, CCO. “For the first time, we will
have the data we need to measure our continuing efforts to improve the
quality of care.”
The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario monitors and reports to the public
on the quality and performance of the cancer system.
Cancer Care Ontario is a policy, planning and research organization that
advises the Ontario government on all aspects of provincial cancer care,
provides information to health care providers and decision-makers, and
motivates better cancer system performance.