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The Road Travelled and the Route Ahead

Moving from good to excellent in the delivery of quality health care is a journey that will never end – better has no limit.

But even continuous journeys have their roadmaps, timetables and landmarks, and the end of a year is a nice time to pause and reflect on the course of one’s work.

As we approach the end of 2016 and look forward to 2017 it is worth noting all of the landmarks Health Quality Ontario, along with our partners, has accomplished.

Our strategic plan for Health Quality Ontario - “Better has no Limit” – outlines five strategic priorities:

  1. Provide system-level leadership for health care quality
  2. Increase availability of information to better enable decisions
  3. Evaluate promising innovations and practices, and support broad uptake of those that provide good value for money
  4. Engage patients in improving care
  5. Enhance quality when patients transition between different types or settings of care

Much of our work spans several of these priorities. The ongoing series of health technology assessments falls into this category. Another example is the more than a thousand quality improvement plans submitted to Health Quality Ontario this year by institutions and organizations in Ontario. As an organization, Health Quality Ontario continued to build on its Quality Matters vision for a quality health care system in the province.

Health Quality Ontario also continues to produce reports on aspects of how the health system is performing in certain areas. For example, this year saw the release of reports on income and health, palliative care at the end of life and a report on the status of the province’s emergency departments. A plan was also released to bring health equity to the forefront and inspire action.

A number of quality advisories were also published throughout the year on emerging issues, such as diagnostic imaging and oversight of non-hospital medical clinics, to provide evidence-informed solutions to inform changes in policy and practice.

There are two regular signposts to the work we are doing: Measuring Up - our yearly evaluation of Ontario’s health care system as a whole; and Health Quality Transformation (HQT) - our yearly meeting that provides a program for all interested in quality health care in the province.

With almost 2500 delegates, HQT is Canada’s largest conference on health care quality. And it was just one of several meetings hosted by Health Quality Ontario in 2016, with another notable gathering being the second annual conference focusing on improving surgical quality and safety in the province.

Working with patients, physicians, nurses, caregivers and many others, we undertook several new or expanded initiatives in 2016, including:

All of these initiatives are featured on the improved Health Quality Ontario website which also includes better online public reporting on health system performance.

And special mention should be made of Health Quality Ontario’s Patients, Family and Public Advisors Council which brought the voice of patients directly to the work we do.

If you will excuse me pushing the journey analogy further, all long trips require time to rest, reflect and re-energize. I hope all of you who are part of the Health Quality Ontario team, including patients, families, members of the public, individual clinicians, representatives from organizations and associations, and others will take time to do so over the holiday season before we enter the next stage of our travels in 2017.

Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season and for health and happiness in the year ahead.

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Claude Lurette and Kowsiya Vijayartnam, Health Quality Ontario Patient, Family and Caregiver Advisors Council Co-Chairs

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