Abstract

[This article was originally published in Healthcare Papers 11(3)]

Sullivan et al. have captured several important themes. One of the reasons that healthcare has been slow to adopt a culture of quality has been that it has taken a long time to recognize that quality is a continuous journey along several dimensions. Following advances in the early 1990s on appropriateness and effectiveness, there has been a decade-long preoccupation with accessibility that still remains an issue. Patient-centredness is one of the most recent dimensions to receive attention, and the overall goal of quality – improved patient outcomes – needs considerable work. Measurement and reporting are fundamental to quality improvement, but the provincial and territorial governments have not lived up to their Health Accord commitments to regular reporting on common indicators. At least six provinces have established health quality councils, but it remains to be seen if this bottom-up approach will lead to a common reporting framework that will support benchmarking. Canada would likely benefit from a pan-Canadian approach to innovation in healthcare quality.