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October 6, 2016

Building improvement capability, spreading innovations to be focus of Health Quality Council’s work for 2016-2019

Saskatchewan’s Health Quality Council (HQC) has released a new three-year strategy for working with organizations and patients in this province to accelerate improvements in health care quality and safety.

The Council’s new plan includes four priority strategies for continuing to make health care better and safer:

  • Integrate patients and families as partners in all aspects of health care
  • Measure health care outcomes and processes to generate evidence for decision making
  • Drive improvements in health care quality and safety by spreading best practices, ideas, and innovations

Dr. Susan Shaw, HQC Board Chair, says the reason the Council was created by government in 2002, in response to the Fyke Commission, is still relevant today. “The health system will always need an agency separate from operational management of health system and from government, to ensure ongoing, long-term focus on improving quality and safety,” says Shaw. “Our agency has a unique role to play, in helping Saskatchewan’s health care system remain focused on improving quality and safety. With the anticipated changes coming, now more than ever it’s critical to have a stable, consistent supporter and facilitator of improvement.”

Here are some examples of current and emerging work that HQC is leading:

Integrate patients and families

  • In 2016, all Saskatchewan health regions adopted an “open family presence policy” which did away with formal visiting hours in health care facilities.
  • This year, a steering group led by HQC is working to have all health regions and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency involve patients and family members in their Quality and Safety Committees.

Build learning systems

  • Last month HQC launched the new Clinical Quality Improvement Program (CQIP), a quality improvement learning program targeted specifically at Saskatchewan physicians and other health providers, modelled on a similar program offered at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah.
  • We led development of the Lean Improvement Leader’s Training (LILT) program, which focuses on helping front-line health care leaders – such as managers, supervisors, and other improvement champions – develop knowledge and skills to lead their staff in applying continuous improvement methods and approaches.

Measure health care outcomes and processes

  • We are developing better measures of health system quality and performance, to inform planning and decision making by leaders seeking to reduce patient waits and improve care.
  • HQC is providing data and analytic support to patients, clinicians, administrators, and researchers involved in patient-oriented health care research.

Spread best practices, ideas, and innovations

  • Later this month, we are hosting a one-day workshop entitled “Rewriting the rules: Emerging and enduring approaches to change.” The event will be led by Helen Bevan, an internationally recognized expert on health system transformation, from the UK’s National Health Service.
  • HQC is planning Quality Summit for May 2017, where leaders, managers, providers, and patient advisors will gather to learn about and share best approaches to improving quality and safety in health care.

HQC is also home to two provincial improvement initiatives, Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow, and Safety Alert/Stop the Line. The ED Waits and Patient Flow Initiative is a top provincial priority whose target is to reduce ED waits times 60% by March 2019. The Safety Alert/Stop the Line Initiative is working to make health care safer, by empowering patients, family members, and providers to call out potentially harmful mistakes so they can be addressed before anyone is harmed.


The Health Quality Council accelerates improvement of health and health care across Saskatchewan. We do this by building improvement capability and spreading innovation, through education, improvement initiatives, and research.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hqcsask
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/healthqualitycouncil/

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Greg Basky
Health Quality Council
306-668-8814 / gbasky@hqc.sk.ca