Improvements in patient and public safety highlighted in 2014 Quality Index on Ontario’s Cancer System

Categories: In The Media.

Ontarians receive some of the best cancer care in the world, and improvements continue to be made to ensure the safety of patients and the public, according to the tenth annual Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI), released today by the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO). Results from this year’s CSQI continue to show that the cancer system is successful in ensuring Ontarians are receiving care based on the best available evidence and scientific knowledge.

A significant number of new safety measures were implemented in the past year for chemotherapy, screening and radiation as well as environmental health indicators which measure the population’s exposure to harmful toxins that could potentially cause cancer. For instance, there has been an improvement in the implementation of best practice technology through the use of automated drug ordering systems for chemotherapy by hospitals.

“Patient safety is paramount to a strong cancer care system.  This year, we increase the number of safety measures in the CSQI  along the entire cancer journey and track progress in patient and public safety to strengthen accountability and ultimately, lead to an improvement in the patient experience,” said Virginia McLaughlin, Chair of the CQCO.

As identified in this year’s results, some areas where safety can be improved include a reduced number of unplanned visits to the hospital following chemotherapy and during radiation therapy, and fulfilling a need to standardize care through guideline-recommended chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients following surgery. The 2014 CSQI results also show that only 62 per cent of those who participated in the annual patient satisfaction survey for symptom management indicated that their healthcare team talked to them about their Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) scores, which is lower than the proportion reported during the previous period.  Focusing on these improvement areas not only impacts patient care but also, strives towards providing patients with a superior care experience. 

“Cancer Care Ontario, working with health care providers, patients and families from across the province, is committed to providing the people of Ontario with the best health system in the world. The CSQI helps to identify areas where we can continue to make improvements,” said Michael Sherar, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. “We will apply this year’s CSQI results to continue to drive excellence in public and patient safety through the many initiatives already underway across the cancer journey.”

The 2014 CSQI reports on a total of 33 indicators spanning the cancer journey from screening to end-of-life care and survivorship, along with several measures related to cancer prevention. Visit to review all the indicators and this year’s interactive report.

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