“While we are devoting considerable time and energy to these new focus areas, we remain deeply committed to working collaboratively with our health system partners to continually improve health care provincewide.”Dr. Dennis Kendel
From its inception in 2002 the Health Quality Council (HQC) has been committed to “making things better” for the people of Saskatchewan. In each successive year of its existence, HQC has thoughtfully considered how it might most effectively use its resources to “make things better.”
For some years, along with its health system partners, HQC has been guided by a commitment to fostering Better Health, Better Care, Better Value, and Better Teams. We have strived to commit some time, energy and resources to each of these four “better” goals. However, for most of our history we have focused primarily on optimizing the care that patients receive when they are ill.
The “Four Betters”: Better Health, Better Care, Better Value, and Better Teams. Source: Publications.gov.sk.ca
Our intense focus on optimizing the safety and quality of health care in Saskatchewan is certainly aligned with the interests of Saskatchewan citizens. We all want assurance that our health system will respond effectively when our well-being and life itself may be threatened by devastating illness. Our impression of the quality of health care in Saskatchewan is very strongly influenced by stories of amazing “rescues” of people in life-threatening situations.
As citizens, we are inclined to take good health for granted when we are well. And, we may have limited awareness of the array of factors that influence our health status. Those factors, which include education, employment, stable housing, food security and wealth/poverty, are described as the “social determinants of health.” Most of these impacts on population health are influenced by policies external to the health care system.
In June 2018, the HQC Board and its senior leadership team engaged in an intense facilitated dialogue on the future focus of HQC’s work. We began by developing a collective vision of the optimal reality for Saskatchewan citizens five years in the future.
HQC’s Board Chair, Dr. Susan Shaw, at the June 2018 strategic planning session.
There was strong consensus for hope that all Saskatchewan citizens will enjoy Better Health five years from now. In the course of that dialogue, we spoke candidly with one another about unacceptable variance in the health status of various populations in Saskatchewan. We spoke about the very large gap in health status between First Nations and Métis people in Saskatchewan and other citizens. We made a shared decision that day that HQC ought to play a leadership role in optimizing future health for all citizens and eliminating health status gaps between various populations in our province.
In the wake of that bold shared decision, it is the responsibility of the entire staff at HQC to translate these aspirational goals into action plans. We are acutely conscious of the reality that we cannot do this unilaterally. We are now building trusting working relationships with partners in the health sector and in other sectors.
While we are devoting considerable time and energy to these new focus areas, we remain deeply committed to working collaboratively with our health system partners to continually improve health care province-wide.
In this fiscal year, we collaborated with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the Ministry of Health to design an Advanced Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) that will offer valuable learning opportunities to staff in all partner agencies.
We continue to work collaboratively with the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) to provide a growing cohort of physicians with an opportunity to develop and apply advanced quality improvement skills through the Clinical Quality Improvement Program (CQIP).
We have worked collaboratively with eHealth Saskatchewan, the SMA, the Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians, the Department of Academic Family Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Ministry of Health to develop panel reports for family physicians (Primary Care Panel Reports) that will enable them to better serve the patients in their care.
The team at HQC is conscious of the fact that we are one partner agency in a complex, adaptive system. The success of the entire system is dependent upon the adaptive capacity of all of its partners. We are committed to being continually sensitive and responsive to the needs of our system partners.
One of the highlights of my service as the HQC CEO this year has been the opportunity to deepen my working relationship with the Deputy Minister of Health and the CEOs of all the other system partners through the newly created Deputy Minister-CEO Council. These face-to-face meetings between the leaders of all seven system partners serve as a platform for all of us to effectively “think and act as one” in our shared service to the people of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Dennis Kendel
Interim Chief Executive Officer