Home > Health Quality Council Blog > Lots to love about quality improvement after 20 years
February 23, 2023

Lots to love about quality improvement after 20 years

HQC staff
Reading Time

HQC marked a special milestone in late 2022—its 20th birthday. On November 22 2002, the Health Quality Council Act was signed into legislation in Saskatchewan, establishing Canada’s first health quality council. Amidst the celebrating was an opportunity to reflect on our humble beginnings, our progress in quality improvement (QI) over two decades and our ambitions for the future.

Our roots in QI

In the early years, HQC’s primary goal was to build a case for why Saskatchewan needed to focus on quality. Just a year after its inception, HQC secured a data sharing agreement with the province to analyze administrative health data, a first in Saskatchewan. This data painted a picture of how the health system was performing, and HQC used it to inform stakeholders about the gaps in care quality.

HQC also assisted in creating infrastructure in the former health regions to support improvement efforts. First, we identified high-performing health-care systems from around the world to learn from their approaches to delivering high-quality care. Then, we brought those learnings and best practices back to Saskatchewan to equip staff in the health system. We built capacity for staff working in dedicated QI departments with projects targeting emergency wait times, stroke pathways and team-based care.

With that foundation for QI established, HQC further built up improvement science and methods in the health-care system. Initiatives like QI in Clinics, Clinical QI Program and QI Learning Collaborative provided tools and training for leadership development, clinician engagement and measurement infrastructure—all of which combined would help organizations build their own capacity for QI.

Twenty years in, QI remains near and dear to HQC. To this end, we have engaged in data and QI work with First Nations and Métis partners, contributing to their work to improve health and wellness in their communities. We have also begun to work with human services and community-based organizations, many of which address the social determinants of health. With this newfound knowledge, they can optimize programs and services that support the mental health and well-being of children, youth, and their families. By sharing the QI toolbox with other sectors, we can continue to build a culture of improvement—and set our sights on the next 20 years.

I ❤️ QI

To celebrate our monumental birthday and 20 years of QI leadership, we asked our staff, partners and social media followers what they loved most about QI.

I love helping others learn news ways to approach old problems.
Chelsea Schwartz, program director, HQC

QI is a great way to make actionable change to improve patient care in a relatively short time. It’s a great way to engage people to work towards a common goal.
Sachin Trivedi, via Twitter

Because it can be applied anywhere in any situation to improve!
Nirmal Sidhu, research analyst, HQC

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” -Aristotle. Making the improvement normal is why I ❤️ QI.
Trevor Tessier, via Twitter

It is creative, exciting, flexible [and] adaptable! What’s not to love?
Beliz Açan Osman, senior researcher, HQC and Meric Osman, Saskatchewan Medical Association

Because it allows you to learn new things and test new ideas in a safe and resource friendly way!
Kaitlyn Brie Fieger, via Facebook

I love the excitement of trying something new that might make things better. There is something about the creative process that is part of the scientific process that you don’t know where exactly it will end up, the excitement of the possibilities.
Nedenee Hudema, analytics manager, HQC

I ❤️ QI because it enables us to
❤️ Improve population health
❤️ Use our health $$ more effectively
❤️ Support our elders living in their own homes
❤️ Support robust primary healthcare services
❤️ Foster & sustain team-based healthcare
❤️ Foster evidence-based policies

Dennis Kendel, former CEO, via Twitter

Connecting with others about QI is so energizing! It’s great to know you’re not alone when tackling complex problems.
Charlsie Ogaick, former improvement lead, HQC

QI makes us all better!
Nicole B, via Twitter

Are you ready to ❤️ QI too?

Are you ready to make quality improvement a way to improve systems, processes, or how you approach projects? If you want to learn more about quality improvement, we suggest the following to sharpen your QI skills: