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Dr. Joshua Tepper

Important Health Quality Insights from the Twittersphere

That the patient perspective was mentioned first in our Twitter chat about quality in health earlier this week was both gratifying and appropriate.

Ditto the fact that a number of individual members of the public and patient advocates participated in the one hour #HQOchat, which represented the first time Health Quality Ontario has hosted a discussion on Twitter.

Over a one hour period, more than 80 participants contributed over 500 tweets in response to four questions we posed based on Quality Matters, on how to embed quality in the Ontario health care system.

The wide-ranging discussion involved patients, family members, caregivers, health care professionals and Health Quality Ontario experts, as well as participants from regions as wide-ranging as Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Virginia in the US. The intent was to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to engage with Health Quality Ontario and myself on broad issues regarding quality and quality care.

Following the ley lines of the questions posed, participants provided their perspectives on the challenges, best practices and future prospects for quality health care.

As noted at the start, the first tweets about defining quality care focused on the patient.

“Quality care puts the patient at the centre of care,” the Health Quality Council of Saskatchewan tweeted. “What matters to them? What do they value?” Indeed, patient-centred is one of the six parameters by which Health Quality Ontario defines quality in health care.

“The ‘spectrum’ of quality care for me starts with communication that encompasses compassion, caring and coordination,” Toronto end-of-life care advocate Kathy Kastner tweeted.

“Quality care is also co-designed (and) co-owned by all stakeholders – (It) benefits business, policy, provider and patient,” another participant noted.

The important role of providers and their well-being in contributing to a quality health care system was also mentioned, as was the fact that quality care makes it easy for providers to do the right thing.

Asked about the barriers to achieving quality care, the chat participants identified a number of concerns, but focused on process issues such as lack of continuity of care and failure of communications between providers and patients.

Other issues, such as the challenge of measuring the right quality indicators, were raised by a group of participants who were admittedly well-versed in the science of quality care.

Asked how to better embed quality into the provincial health care system, views ranged from “looking after” providers better to “bringing together the quality improvement capacity of a given region to work together on improvement across the patient journey” (contributed by @bitontrin, a registered nurse).

The chat provided much food for thought and we were thanked for the “phone-battery draining and stimulating chat.”

I encourage you to continue to contribute answers to the questions we posed in this past chat.

We will be offering a regular series of Twitter chats at #HQOchat, as one of our many forums to engage with stakeholders. Future chats will examine important and stimulating health care quality issues - What would you like to chat about on Twitter?

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