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Putting a Quality Lens on Health Technology

Dr. Joshua Tepper

A growing body of evidence from Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom is providing compelling evidence of improved quality outcomes as a result of using health information technologies (HIT), and Health Quality Ontario has identified HIT as an enabler of quality care.

Evidence from these jurisdictions has shown that electronic medical records and other forms of HIT can improve patient safety, improve patient outcomes and make providers more effective and efficient, as well as aid faster adoption of evidence to practice. These technologies can also facilitate quality care by providing better data on which to base clinical, policy and funding decisions.

Wait Times: A Metric to Watch

Dr. Joshua Tepper

Earlier this summer, Health Quality Ontario revamped its public reporting on wait times to make it more user-friendly. We also added reporting on the wait time between a specialist receiving the referral from the patient's family doctor, to the patient's first surgical or specialist appointment, to gain a fuller picture of the patient experience.

Since then, the data has been used on numerous occasions to document how well or badly one hospital is doing compared to the rest of the province. There have also been almost 100,000 page views of the wait times pages on the Health Quality Ontario website since their launch. Interest in the information remains strong and there were more than 13,000 page views of the nine wait times measures pages between mid-November and mid-December.

Making Freedom from Violence a Quality Indicator

Dr. Joshua Tepper

The Safe Patients/Safe Staff program at Sinai Health System provides resources to help staff safely and effectively care for patients who are at risk of aggressive or dangerous behaviour.

At Grand River Hospital Corporation, teams are available to respond to codes for potential workplace violent incidents. In the event of a code called for aggressive behaviour/physical danger, an immediate and mandatory debrief is held to ensure the emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing of all staff and patients.

The North Bay Regional Health Centre and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health are among nine hospitals in Ontario implementing the Safewards program, an evidence-based series of interventions that promote patient and employee safety by reducing conflict and containment.

Improving Care: Using Evidence for Change

Dr. Irfan Dhalla

Earlier this week, Health Quality Ontario released a quality standard on diabetic foot ulcers.

Diabetic foot ulcers are a significant health problem. An estimated 1 in 10 people in Ontario have diabetes and up to 25% of these individuals will develop a foot ulcer during their lifetime. Sometimes these ulcers eventually lead to amputation of the foot or lower leg. Diabetic ulcers can also cause pain and limit mobility.

Measure – Change – Improve: Better Surgical Care in Ontario

Dr. Joshua Tepper and Dr. Tim Jackson

Simply measuring quality doesn’t make health care better. But transforming that data into opportunities for improvement can have a very real impact on patients and their health and safety.

This is demonstrated in the recent Quality Surgery: Improving Surgical Care in Ontario report released by Health Quality Ontario.

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