Ontario’s wait time system wins
Cancer Care Ontario has received a prestigious gold award for
Innovation Management from the Institute of Public Administration of
Canada (IPAC) for developing and deploying a Wait Time Information
System (WTIS), a critical component of Ontario’s Wait Time Strategy.
“Ontario has moved from being a laggard to being a leader in the field
of wait time information management,” said Dr. Alan Hudson
(pictured), Lead, Wait Time Strategy and Access to Services. “The
Wait Time Information System is a critical part of Ontario’s strategy to
reduce wait times and more than 250,000 Ontarians will benefit annually
from its ability to track and share the most timely and accurate
The 2007 IPAC awards focused on New Service Breakthroughs with
Technology and celebrated and encouraged innovative managerial
initiatives in public administration. The Wait Time Information System
was selected from 53 nominations from across the country for exceptional
management in public administration.
“It is extremely rewarding to be recognized on a national scale for the
Wait Time Information System,” said Sarah Kramer, Lead for the Wait Time
Information Management Strategy and VP and CIO for Cancer Care Ontario.
“This award acknowledges the Ontario government’s steadfast commitment
to report to the public on the performance of the healthcare system and
reflects the combined efforts of hospitals, healthcare professionals and
various public and private sector partners across the province.”
In less than two years, Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) has delivered two
province-wide systems that are now transforming Ontario’s health system.
The WTIS is the first provincial system to capture accurate and timely
wait time data.
CCO also concurrently implemented Ontario’s Client Registry/Enterprise
Master Patient Index (EMPI) to support the WTIS in accurately
identifying patients within and across hospitals. Ontario’s Client
Registry/EMPI sets a foundation for an electronic health record and will
be used for other local and provincial e-Health initiatives in the
As of June 2007, staff from 81 Ontario hospitals and 1,700 surgeons’
offices, are using the WTIS and Ontario’s Client Registry/EMPI to
improve access to care.
Today in Ontario wait-time data for cancer surgery, cataract surgery,
cardiac surgery, hip and knee replacement surgery, and MRI and CT scans
are being captured in near real-time and reported publicly through the
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s website,
Clinicians and patients now have better information for decision-making
and the public has access to information to hold government and other
healthcare leaders accountable for wait times. Initially developed to
capture information in five key areas, CCO has been mandated by the
government to lead the expansion of the WTIS. Beginning spring 2008, the
WTIS will be expanded to include all surgical procedures for adults and
paediatrics by end of March 2009.
Wait Time Information System (WTIS) and Ontario’s Client
Registry/Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI)
The WTIS is a provincial, patient-centred system that provides timely
and accurate reporting of wait times to the public from hospitals. The
WTIS helps clinicians, administrators and health system managers better
monitor and manage access to healthcare services. Ontario’s Client
Registry/EMPI is the largest patient/client registry in Canada,
containing more than 48 million records and information from 62 sources
including hospitals, other healthcare organizations and the WTIS.
The Wait Time Strategy
Ontario’s Wait Time Strategy is designed to reduce wait times by
improving access to healthcare services for adult Ontarians in five key
areas. The Strategy will result in a comprehensive, patient-centred
surgical care system that monitors and manages wait times, and makes
wait time information available to the public and providers.
Cancer Care Ontario
Cancer Care Ontario is the provincial agency that steers and coordinates
Ontario’s cancer services and prevention efforts so that fewer people
get cancer and patients receive the highest quality of care. As a
recognized leader in provincial systems implementation, CCO, under the
direction of Sarah Kramer, was asked by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and
Long-Term Care in 2004 to manage the development and deployment of the
provincial Wait Time Information System.