Our purpose and role

The Health Quality Council: Our purpose

The Saskatchewan Health Quality Council (HQC) is an independent organization, operating at arms-length from the Government of Saskatchewan. Since 2002, we have been accelerating improvement in health care across the province through training and education (building improvement capability and spreading innovation throughout the province), improvement initiatives, and research.

Based on our mandate outlined in the Health Quality Council Act, we aim to:

  • monitor and assess the quality of health and health care
  • help partners build their capacity for quality improvement
  • promote research and education leading to improvement in health and health care

In this section

Our role

Thumbnail about HQC who we are

We partner with and support health organizations, government, community organizations, and communities across the province to drive progress toward better health and better care for all. We place our energy where we believe we can use our skills to make the most impact. Our work is informed by citizens, communities, and shared system priorities impacting health. Our work in the health system is guided by improvement efforts within the health system, health system priorities, and where the system needs to go.

We focus our work in three key service areas:

  • Measurement and analytics: By asking difficult questions, challenging the status quo, and finding answers to the questions that matter, we put vital information into the hands of people who can make change happen through policies or through how health care is delivered.
  • Collaboration: We create or contribute to environments where stakeholders work together on shared outcomes. We offer our skills in quality improvement, research (measurement and analytics), and facilitation to help stakeholders make change happen faster in health and health care.
  • Skill-building: We develop skills in our partners so they can confidently make change happen in their fields. This allows us to support the development of a culture and mindset of quality improvement.

Mission

Accelerate improvement in the quality of health and health care throughout Saskatchewan.

Vision

Optimal health and health care for everyone.

Values and principles

Our values:

  • Create meaningful connections
  • Spread passion for learning
  • Work to make a difference

We demonstrate our values through the following principles:

  • Put the patient first
  • Respect every individual
  • Know and do what is right
  • Think scientifically
  • Be optimistic
  • Add value every day
  • Be accountable

Strategy

Our 2019-2024 strategic focus: Diving deeper into health

Thumbnail about HQC's 2019-2024 strategy
The growing focus on health and health care more broadly

While the Health Quality Council has been supporting the acceleration of improvement in the health care system over the past two decades, the public health community’s attention has been drawn to social and economic factors apart from medical care that impact health. Studies suggest that up to 75% of what affects our health is not related to the health care system or services.[1] Instead, the greater contributors to health are found in the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and age. These factors can be influenced by social policies and shape health in powerful ways. In addition to these factors, our attention has also been drawn to gaps in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.[2] One of the principles of reconciliation is to create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing the gaps in health outcomes that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.[3]

Where we are going

The Health Quality Council sees great potential in our ability to contribute our strengths to help accelerate improvements in health and health care alongside those already working in these areas. We are building new partnerships with stakeholders who are ready and willing to work in new ways to target the root causes of health and wellness and improve the health and quality of life of Saskatchewan citizens. We will strive to better integrate initiatives across the human services sectors, including health, social, education, and justice sectors, community-based organizations, and First Nation and Métis organizations.  

Our 2019-2024 Strategic Plan focuses on:

  • Enhancing First Nations & Métis Health & Wellness
  • Social Determinants of Health – Child and Youth Mental Health & Wellness
What the new strategic focus means for the Health Quality Council and our partners

While the Health Quality Council is broadening our focus, we will continue to support the province’s health care system where we add the most value, including helping to evaluate the effectiveness of different programs and services and offering quality improvement training for physicians, clinicians, and others.

We have two decades of testing, learning, and refining our methods for quality improvement, measurement, and research to identify gaps in the quality of care and in our methods for improving care. We are excited to share our experiences with new partners and help them achieve meaningful gains with their work in solving complex problems. They are the experts in these areas; we will work to support and help them understand challenges, test improvement ideas, sustain positive outcomes, and measure and evaluate progress towards their goals.


[1] Canadian Medical Association. (2013). Health care in Canada: What makes us sick. Retrieved from: https://tfss.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/What-makes-us-sick_en.pdf

[2] Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future. Retrieved from http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Honouring_the_Truth_Reconciling_for_the_Future_July_23_2015.pdf, 160-161.

[3] (See principle #5). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation.  Retrieved from: http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Principles%20of%20Truth%20and%20Reconciliation.pdf.