Chair's Message

Back in July 2014 my Chair’s Message was about quality improvement in primary care. At that time our residents were starting to focus on quality improvement projects for the academic component of their residency training. This has proven to be very successful.

Health Quality Ontario (HQO) is the agency that is the provincial advisor on the quality of healthcare in Ontario, and has been reporting on the performance of healthcare since 2006. This agency is producing regular newsletters and reports which give us all an idea about quality in the system. I hope that many of you have the opportunity to review their publications.

The performance measures in primary care that Health Quality Ontario have developed are in three key areas: Access to Care, Provision of Specific Services, and Coordination with other aspects of the healthcare sector.

The most recent Primary Care Performance Report from HQO shows some interesting data:

  1. 93.8 per cent of Ontarians have access to family doctors or other primary care providers.
  2. 43.6 per cent of Ontarians can access same day or next day appointments with their primary care providers.
  3. 79.3 per cent of Ontarians will receive a call back from their primary care provider within 24 hours.
  4. 33.6 per cent of patients with certain conditions will have a follow-up appointment within seven days after hospital discharge with their primary care provider.
  5. 16.5 per cent of patients with certain conditions will be readmitted to hospital within 30 days after discharge.

It is encouraging to note that we are doing better with access for our patients, although there could be improvements in same or next day appointments. But we are not doing quite as well in coordinating with patients after hospital discharge. This figure has stayed relatively constant for the last four years or so despite more attention being paid to transitions from hospital to community care. This suggests to me that this is a complex issue, and more innovative solutions are needed to make an improvement in this area.

I think you will agree that the Health Quality Ontario reports are of interest, and stimulate us to develop quality improvement projects and research studies that will lead to better primary care for all Ontarians.

As always I welcome your feedback at: