Improvements in patient and public safety highlighted in 2014 Quality Index on Ontario's Cancer System

Overall findings show that cancer patients in Ontario continue to receive world-class care

TORONTO, June 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Ontarians receive some of the best cancer care in the world, and improvements continue to be made to ensure the safety of patients and the public, according to the tenth annual Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI), released today by the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO). Results from this year's CSQI continue to show that the cancer system is successful in ensuring Ontarians are receiving care based on the best available evidence and scientific knowledge.

A significant number of new safety measures were implemented in the past year for chemotherapy, screening and radiation as well as environmental health indicators which measure the population's exposure to harmful toxins that could potentially cause cancer. For instance, there has been an improvement in the implementation of best practice technology through the use of automated drug ordering systems for chemotherapy by hospitals.

"Patient safety is paramount to a strong cancer care system.  This year, we increase the number of safety measures in the CSQI  along the entire cancer journey and track progress in patient and public safety to strengthen accountability and ultimately, lead to an improvement in the patient experience," said Virginia McLaughlin, Chair of the CQCO.

As identified in this year's results, some areas where safety can be improved include a reduced number of unplanned visits to the hospital following chemotherapy and during radiation therapy, and fulfilling a need to standardize care through guideline-recommended chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients following surgery. The 2014 CSQI results also show that only 62 per cent of those who participated in the annual patient satisfaction survey for symptom management indicated that their healthcare team talked to them about their Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) scores, which is lower than the proportion reported during the previous period.  Focusing on these improvement areas not only impacts patient care but also, strives towards providing patients with a superior care experience. 

"Cancer Care Ontario, working with health care providers, patients and families from across the province, is committed to providing the people of Ontario with the best health system in the world. The CSQI helps to identify areas where we can continue to make improvements," said Michael Sherar, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. "We will apply this year's CSQI results to continue to drive excellence in public and patient safety through the many initiatives already underway across the cancer journey."

The 2014 CSQI reports on a total of 33 indicators spanning the cancer journey from screening to end-of-life care and survivorship, along with several measures related to cancer prevention. Visit www.csqi.on.ca to review all the indicators and this year's interactive report.

About the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario

The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (www.cqco.ca), established in 2002 by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), is an arm's length advisory group to Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), set up to provide advice to CCO and the MOHLTC in their efforts to improve the quality of cancer care in the province. The CQCO also monitors and publicly reports on the performance of the cancer system annually via the Cancer System Quality Index www.csqi.on.ca and provides international comparisons and benchmarking to allow Ontario to learn from other jurisdictions.  The CQCO is composed of healthcare providers, cancer survivors, family members and experts in the areas of oncology, health system policy, performance measurement, health services research and health care governance. The CQCO has a mandate to monitor and report publicly on the performance of the Ontario cancer system and to motivate improvement through national and international benchmarking. For more information on the CQCO, visit www.cqco.ca.

For further information about the CSQI please see the backgrounder.

BACKGROUNDER

Cancer Quality Council of Ontario and
the 2014 Cancer System Quality Index

Cancer Quality Council of Ontario

The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (www.cqco.ca), established in 2002 by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), is an arm's length advisory body to Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), set up to provide advice to CCO and the MOHLTC in their efforts to improve the quality of cancer care in the province.

What does CQCO do?

The CQCO is a multidisciplinary group of healthcare providers, cancer survivors, family members and experts in the areas of oncology, health system policy, performance measurement, health services research and healthcare governance. The CQCO has a mandate to monitor and report publicly on the performance of the Ontario cancer system and to motivate improvement through national and international benchmarking.

The CQCO's mission is to improve the quality of cancer services in Ontario.  To that end, the CQCO works in partnership with CCO to identify and assess gaps in cancer system performance and quality and advise on planning and strategic priorities. 

As of September 2009, the CQCO expanded its original quality improvement mandate by bringing an international comparative lens to its work.  Specifically, the CQCO now helps benchmark the quality of Ontario's cancer system performance against international leaders by: (a) bringing in international expertise to review quality gaps and issues related to performance, (b) providing policy advice based on an assessment of lessons learned in international experience, and (c) comparing Ontario's performance against international metrics, as appropriate. CQCO's annual initiatives include:

  • The annual Cancer System Quality Index: an interactive web-based reporting tool, that tracks Ontario's progress towards better outcomes in cancer care and highlights where cancer service providers can advance the quality and performance of care.
  • An annual Signature Event that brings practice leaders, policy makers, providers, patient and family representatives  together with international and national experts to provide practical solutions to address a quality gap and identify areas of opportunity to improve the quality of health services delivery within the Ontario context.
  • The annual Quality and Innovation Awards, sponsored by CQCO, CCO and the Canadian Cancer Society – Ontario Division, which recognizes significant contributions to quality or innovation in the delivery of cancer care across the province of Ontario.
  • The annual Programmatic Review that brings Ontario clinical leads together with international experts to review an existing cancer system program, analyze their effectiveness and make recommendations regarding strategic directions and improvements.

Cancer System Quality Index

A North American first, the Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI) was launched in 2005 by the CQCO, in partnership with CCO.

  • Now in its tenth year, the CSQI is an interactive web-based public reporting tool that presents overall Ontario context information including mortality and survival as well as a rolling snapshot of activity across 33 key indicators. The CSQI serves as a valuable, system-wide monitor that allows us to track, assess and improve the quality and consistency of key cancer services delivered across the spectrum of Ontario's cancer system, from prevention through to survivorship and end-of-life care.
  • The CSQI is an important tool used by health professionals and cancer organizations, planners and policy-makers to identify cancer trends and to plan and make improvements in all areas of cancer prevention, care and survivorship.
  • Each indicator is a specific measurement of progress against one of seven dimensions of quality - each established to help us focus our efforts in improving the cancer system: 
    • Ensuring cancer services are effective - this year's rating is very good
    • Improved access for Ontarians - this year's rating is good
    • Providing care that is responsive to patient needs - this year's rating is fair
    • Enhancing patient and provider safety - this year's rating is fair
    • Greater efficiency - this year's rating is fair
    • Ensuring equity - this year's rating is fair
    • Improved integration - this year's rating is fair
       
      Rating scale: HIGH   Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor, Incomplete Data LOW

2014 Highlights:

  • Indicators – this online Index presents new data for each of the 33 key indicators. For the first time this year, the CSQI reports on:  alcohol consumption and policy along with environmental health (under prevention); integrated waits for radiation therapy (under diagnosis); and, 100 day mortality after stem cell treatment along with appropriate peer review (under treatment).
  • International Comparisons – the CSQI includes international comparators as we move towards regular benchmarking against international best practice.
  • Key findings – this feature provides a high level snapshot of the performance of the system, reflective of the quality framework, highlighting where the system is doing well, and what areas need on-going improvement. This year's themes are:
    • Patient and Public Safety
    • Focus on Breast Cancer in Ontario
  • Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Based Analysis – the Index also presents cancer system performance within each of Ontario's 14 LHINs and presents a snapshot view of how each LHIN is doing in terms all indicators across CSQI.

SOURCE Cancer Quality Council of Ontario

For further information: Stephanie Bell, Phone: 416-342-1839, Mobile: 416-937-4912, Email: Stephanie.bell@mediaprofile.com