Optimizing the cancer control system for Canadians is at the heart of the Partnership’s work. But unless it is clear how well the cancer control system is performing, it is difficult for cancer agencies or other health partners to know where to focus improvement efforts. In response to this challenge, the Partnership developed the System Performance Initiative, a pan-Canadian approach to reporting on performance across the cancer control continuum.
The System Performance Initiative is a collaboration among the Partnership and the provincial cancer agencies. The initiative collects data from a number of sources, including Statistics Canada, provincial cancer partners and provincial registries that are presented in the 2010 System Performance Report. The report examines the performance of Canada’s national cancer control system and identifies areas where there are gaps in indicator reporting. Results are shared with provincial cancer agencies and health ministries as the report is developed, and their feedback shapes the final report presentation.
“Having good data and using it effectively are critical to improving quality in the cancer system,” said Dr. Carol Sawka, vice president of clinical programs and quality initiatives, Cancer Care Ontario. “Thanks to the collective work of the provinces, we now have the first set of pan-Canadian indicators to drive performance from coast to coast. Led by the Partnership, this work will help guide better decision-making.”
In its inaugural report, The System Performance Initiative – A First Year Report, published in October 2009, the System Performance Initiative identified 17 high-level performance indicators. The 2010 System Performance Report expands on existing indicators and includes new ones that focus on diagnosis and treatment, areas the cancer control community identified as gaps in indicator reporting. It presents inter-provincial data, time trends, and data on demographic and socio-economic determinants of health across Canada. It also includes two special sections: one on colorectal cancer, which evaluates system performance for this cancer site along the continuum of care and outcomes; and one on radiation therapy, which reports on measures of capacity, utilization, wait times and guideline concordance.
Going forward, the System Performance Initiative will continue to collaborate with the provinces, and leverage expertise from the pan-Canadian System Performance Working Group and stakeholders across the country to deepen findings from the 2010 report.