Report on Ontario’s Cancer System Highlights Need for Better Integration for Patient Care

Categories: Research.

The findings of the ninth annual Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI), released today by the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO), highlight a cancer system that is performing well overall but with room for advances in the integration of care and in the equity of access to services.

“In Ontario, we set very high standards for cancer care, and in most areas, I am proud to say we are meeting those standards. The CSQI report is important because it identifies areas where we need to do more work,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“The individual pieces of the cancer system and the overall health system in Ontario are very strong, but they can be better integrated to improve the patient and family experience,” said Dr. Robert Bell, Chair of the CQCO and President and CEO, University Health Network. “Whether it is at the screening, diagnosis, treatment, recovery or end of life stage of the patient journey, we need to do more to ensure patient transitions from one stage to another are more seamless and effective, regardless of location or provider.”

Results from this year’s 2013 CSQI show that the Ontario cancer system continues to be successful in ensuring Ontarians are receiving treatment based on the best available evidence. A notable example includes the effective use of team-oriented care through Multidisciplinary Cancer Conferences, where healthcare providers from different disciplines and backgrounds discuss and make recommendations on the best way to handle the care of individual cancer patients.

At the same time, Ontario’s cancer system is very successful at ensuring that patients are accessing the services they need despite the increases in demand. However, improvement needs to be made in different areas of the system to reduce the overall time from diagnosis of cancer to each treatment needed.  Additionally, use of acute care hospital services at the end of life remains high.  More work needs to be done to ensure that patients and their caregivers have the right resources at the right time.

“At Cancer Care Ontario we are committed to making a difference in the lives of Ontarians,” said Michael Sherar, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. “We will apply the findings of the 2013 CSQI to improve integration of care and seek ways to provide the highest quality of care to patients, while getting greater value from every health dollar we spend to help ensure a sustainable health system for all Ontarians.”

The 2013 CSQI measures a total of 32 indicators. Visit to review all the indicators and this year’s interactive report.

About the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario
The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO) is an advisory group established in 2002 by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and is quasi-independent to Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), set up to provide advice to CCO and the MOHLTC in their efforts to improve the quality of cancer care in the province. The CQCO is composed of healthcare providers, cancer survivors, family members and experts in the areas of oncology, health system policy, performance measurement, health services research and health care governance.  The CQCO has a mandate to monitor and report publicly on the performance of the Ontario cancer system and to motivate improvement through national and international benchmarking.  For more information on the CQCO, visit