Ministry Reports

Ontario's Health System Performance Report

14 Common Indicator Areas of Health and Health System Performance

The Commitment

Canadians will have publicly funded health services that provide quality health care and that promote the health and well being of Canadians in a cost-effective and fair manner.

--First Ministers' Meeting
Communiqué on Health, September 11, 2000

The key goals of the health care systems in Canada are to preserve, protect, and improve the health of every Canadian. To achieve these goals, the health care systems aim to ensure all Canadians timely access to appropriate, quality health services anywhere in Canada, based solely on their needs and not on their ability to pay. The health system also looks to the future, and strives to ensure the sustainability of health services for all for years to come.

To realize their vision of health, the First Ministers have made three commitments :

  • To continuously renew health care services by working with other governments, communities, service providers, and Canadians to meet emerging needs;
  • To share information that helps contribute to continuous quality improvement and efficiency of health care services;
  • To report regularly to Canadians on the health status, health outcomes, and the quality of service received from publicly funded health services.

Health Ministers were directed to collaborate on the development of a comprehensive framework of comparable indicators for public reporting, to provide comprehensive and regular reports, beginning September 2002, on the performance of their health programs, and to provide for appropriate third party verification of their reports.

By working together and sharing information, all governments will be more accountable to Canadians for the health programs and services they deliver.

Fulfilling the Commitment

How can governments assess the effectiveness of our health services and share that information with their citizens? The use of performance measures is one option. By establishing certain indicators that can be used to "measure" our health or the impact of health services, governments can help Canadians understand how their publicly funded health services are delivered and whether they are achieving their goals and objectives. The use of standard performance indicators will also tell us what we are doing well and where we need to improve. They will encourage all parts of the country to share best practices and continually improve health services. This information can also help individual Canadians make more informed health choices.

In November 2000, the Health Ministers established the Performance Indicators Reporting Committee (PIRC), to develop a process for reporting to the public on health care system performance. The main task of the PIRC, which is chaired by Alberta and has representatives from Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and the federal government (Health Canada), was to establish a framework that would allow comparable health reporting across all governments.

Since its inception, the PIRC has relied heavily on the advice and assistance of two Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) advisory committees, which provided expert advice on the definition, interpretation, and overall suitability of specific indicators for health services and population health. Statistics Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), and l'Institut des statistiques du Quebec (ISQ) also provided assistance, contributing to the technical development of indicators and providing related data.

The Performance Indicators

The Prime Minister and the Premiers identified 14 performance indicators that would provide relevant information for the public and be technically sound. Those 14 indicators were divided into three topic areas :

  • Health Status indicators or measures that help us understand the present health of many Canadians. These indicators help answer the question, "Just how healthy are Canadians right now?"
  • Health Outcomes indicators or measures that help assess the impact of health programs and services on health status. The PIRC focused on the diseases that have the greatest health impact - cancer, heart disease and stroke - and selected measures where the link between health system interventions and health outcomes is well-established. These measures also take into account that some interventions are designed to save lives while others are designed to improve health-related quality of life.
  • Quality of Service indicators or measures that assess whether Canadians are receiving appropriate, timely, effective, accessible and acceptable health services.

The PIRC then divided the 14 performance indicators into 67 specific measures that can be used to paint a more precise picture of our health care system today. In this document, Ontario reports on all 14 indicators, and 54 of the 67 measures. In the future, when technical issues with the remaining measures have been resolved, Ontario will report on all 67 measures. The Provincial Auditor of Ontario has performed specified audit procedures to verify the health indicators presented in this report.

Document Download

Highlights from Ontario's Health System Performance Report 
12 pages | 133 kb | PDF format

Full Report
Ontario's Health System Performance Report
108 pages | 716 kb | PDF format

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