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Online tool provides health quality data

REGINA – The quality of healthcare services offered in Saskatchewan can be more easily assessed through a new online reporting tool ( launched by the Health Quality Council. It was developed in response to demand from providers, health regions, and government for timely information about how the health system is performing.

This new provincial resource displays results for various indicators of healthcare quality in Saskatchewan. Marlene Smadu, Chair of the Health Quality Council, and Associate Dean (Southern Saskatchewan Campus) for the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Nursing, says the province is again leading the way in healthcare with the launch of Quality Insight.

“Our health system is ahead of other jurisdictions in Canada in its understanding of - and use of - measurement and transparent reporting to improve care, and in its collaborative approach to identifying indicators of quality that will be useful for improvement,” says Smadu.

Right now, most of the information in Quality Insight measures the health system’s progress in achieving targets set for the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative; this major improvement effort was launched by the Health Ministry in March 2010, in response to the Patient First Review.

In addition to measuring improvement progress, the indicators about quality of surgical care will also help inform efforts by managers and providers to shorten waits for surgery and improve patients’ experiences with the health system. Over time, HQC will add more indicators related to quality of surgical care, as well as other measures of quality in other parts of the system.

The site will also include indicators available from other reporting organizations, such as the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

“Transparency is important to us, but gathering and analyzing information for reporting on the quality of care in our health region currently takes a lot of time and energy,” says Brandy Winquist, Decision Support Consultant, Cypress Health Region.

“The beauty of Quality Insight online is that it makes knowledge about the healthcare system’s performance more accessible to everyone, which will be more efficient for us. Cypress Health Region certainly looks forward to the new possibilities it presents.”

With HQC’s team of subject matter experts, zu, a Saskatoon-based web company, designed and programmed the Quality Insight website. The Health Quality Council is an independent agency that works closely with health regions, providers, and government to accelerate improvement in Saskatchewan’s healthcare system.

HQC is fulfilling this mission by measuring and reporting on quality, building leadership and capability for improvement, engaging providers, and informing health policy.

Posted February 24, 2011