Canadian Healthcare Needs a Checkup, Here's How - C.D. Howe Institute

TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - While Canada has a well-established tradition of transparency and accountability for health-system performance comparisons, few measures of outcomes are reported, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Measuring Outcomes in the Canadian Health Sector: Driving Better Value from Healthcare," authors Jeremy Veillard, Omid Fekri, Irfan Dhalla, and Niek Klazinga examine the state of outcomes measurement in Canada, and offer recommendations so that the generation of better information on health system outcomes can help achieve greater value in the health sector.

"Outcome measures, particularly from the patient's perspective, help us to better understand how effectively the health system achieves its goals. They support better decision-making by relating investment decisions to outcomes, and better matching the delivery of health and social services to the evolving needs of populations and patients," say the authors. They add that, "from a democratic perspective, publicizing outcome measures can empower patients, families and communities to engage in the policy debate about which outcomes matter most and at what cost – and in the ways healthcare should be delivered."

Canadians expect to have access to quality healthcare services when and where they need them, to be treated with respect and be involved in decisions about their treatment. Canada devotes considerable resources toward achieving these goals. Total healthcare expenditures were projected to reach $219 billion in 2015, or $6,105 per person. According to the report, "members of the public want their health system to be the best it can be while providing value for money, so a basic and important question is whether this investment is meeting their primary goals." From an accountability and transparency perspective, one can use outcome measures to better understand how effectively the health system achieves its goals – and delivers value to citizens.

Among the key recommendations made in the report:

  • The federal and provincial governments should complement current data with outcome measures of relevance to patients, clinicians, system managers and policy practitioners.
  • Organizations with a mandate to report publicly on health-system performance, such as the Canadian Institute for Health Information and provincial health quality councils, should collect outcomes data and report publicly on outcomes, filling current gaps in outcomes measurement and public reporting.

"The ultimate yardstick of success will be how this information is put to use by clinicians, system managers and policy makers to advance health system goals," say the authors. They conclude that the critical question is how public policy and other interventions will incent professionals to improve outcomes and patients to demand better outcomes and value from the healthcare sector.

For the report go to: https://www.cdhowe.org/measuring-outcomes-canadian-health-sector-driving-better-value-healthcare

The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. It is Canada's trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review. It is considered by many to be Canada's most influential think tank.

SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute

For further information: Jeremy Veillard, Assistant Professor (status only), Institute of Health Policy, University of Toronto; Omid Fekri, University of Amsterdam; Irfan Dhalla, Vice President of Evidence Development and Standards, Health Quality Ontario, and Assistant Professor at the Department of Medicine, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto; Niek Klazinga, Professor of Social Medicine at the Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, and visiting Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto; or Colin Busby, Senior Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute, 416-865-1904 or email: amcbrien@cdhowe.org.

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