Quality of care slightly better, but pace and scale of improvement must
accelerate: Health Quality Council report

SASKATOON, June 23 /CNW/ - There's been little change over the last three years in how patients rate the care they receive in Saskatchewan hospitals, according to a report released today by the province's Health Quality Council (HQC). The report, entitled Quality Insight 2010, presents an overview of aspects of quality of care delivered in hospitals, in the community for people living with certain chronic diseases, and for seniors taking prescription drugs. (Full results are located at the Health Quality's website at www.hqc.sk.ca.) The document also describes progress to date in establishing a system for monitoring and reporting on health care quality.

HQC notes that care has improved slightly for people with chronic conditions, but that more attention is required to ensure Saskatchewan patients receive the same level of care delivered in other jurisdictions. The Council also calls on the province's health care system to speed up implementation of an electronic health information system, to give managers and providers faster, easier access to the information they need to improve care for patients.

The Patient First Review, released last October, affirmed many findings in this new report, says HQC Board Chair Marlene Smadu, who is also Associate Dean (Regina Site) for the University of Saskatchewan's College of Nursing. "We need to do a better job across our system, in putting the needs and wants of patients first," says Smadu. "The province's lead-out response to Patient First, the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, is a priority area where we can all focus our efforts and attention. The lessons we learn here will equip us to make changes in other areas of the system that will improve patients' health outcomes and their experiences with care."

Other key findings from Quality Insight 2010 report:

    -   Approximately 30% of Saskatchewan patients rated the hospital where
        they received care as the "best possible hospital," a widely used
        measure of the extent to which hospitals exceed patients'
        expectations. Across the US about 40% of patients rate the hospital
        where they received care as "best possible." During the period HQC
        looked at, US ratings went up 2% while Saskatchewan scores declined
        by 3%.

    -   Fewer heart attack patients are being readmitted to hospital, fewer
        people with diabetes are being hospitalized for complications, and
        slightly fewer people with asthma are ending up in hospital.

    -   In 2008-09 about 40% of heart attack patients were not dispensed
        within three days of leaving hospital key medications shown to reduce
        chances of a second heart attack and death.

    -   Only about half of people with diabetes have their condition managed
        so that key blood test results are at target levels. Poor control of
        diabetes can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, heart
        attacks, stokes, blindness, or limb amputation.

    -   One in six people with asthma have poor control of their condition, a
        rate that has not changed between 2003-04 and 2008-09.

    -   About one in three seniors living in long-term care were dispensed at
        least one potentially inappropriate, high-risk drug during 2008-09.

The first Quality Insight report was released in October 2008; it pulled together in one document updated information on different aspects of health care that HQC started reporting on in fall 2004.

The Health Quality Council is an independent agency that works closely with health regions, providers, and government to accelerate improvement in Saskatchewan's health care system. HQC is fulfilling this mission by measuring and reporting on quality, building leadership and capability for improvement, engaging providers, and informing health policy.

SOURCE Health Quality Council

For further information: For further information: or to arrange interviews, contact: Sheila Ragush, 668-8810 ext 113, sragush@hqc.sk.ca

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