Health System Efficiency in Canada

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Improving health system performance and getting better value from the money spent in health care continue to dominate the health policy landscape. Public discourse continues to shift from increasing health system resources toward the optimization of these resources.

As health system decision-makers face the challenge of providing timely and effective care within the confines of a fixed budget, key issues emerge:

  • What makes a health system efficient?
  • How can efficiency be measured? 
  • Why does efficiency vary across Canada?
  • What actions are decision-makers taking to improve efficiency and what are the associated challenges?

CIHI's Canadian Population Health Initiative (CPHI) examines the issue of health system efficiency in Canada. Through this 3-phase project, CIHI aims to inform stakeholders in their efforts to measure and improve efficiency.

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Developing a Model for Measuring the Efficiency of the Health System in Canada

This report defines a model for measuring health system efficiency that was informed by consultations with senior federal, provincial and territorial health system stakeholders and conducted by the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis at McMaster University and by the McMaster Health Forum. This model can be used to analyze health system efficiency at the regional level in Canada.

Developing a Model for Measuring the Efficiency of the Health System in Canada (PDF)

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CIHI contracted the McMaster Health Forum to facilitate a stakeholder dialogue to glean insight into the perspectives of health system leaders regarding the challenges associated with health system efficiency measurement. The dialogue was informed by an issue brief that showcased Canadian and international research about health system efficiency measurement and included key elements of a model for measuring health system efficiency. The findings from the stakeholder dialogue were captured in a dialogue summary and further synthesized in a topic overview.


Health System Efficiency in Canada: Why Does Efficiency Vary Among Regions?

This study measures health system efficiency in Canada to gain insight into factors that help explain variations in efficiency at the health region level. The study builds on findings from the CIHI report, Developing a Model for Measuring the Efficiency of the Health System in Canada and examines questions such as why some of Canada's health regions are more efficient than others.

Health System Efficiency in Canada: Why Does Efficiency Vary Among Regions? (PDF)

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Improving Health System Efficiency in Canada: Perspectives of Decision-Makers

In this qualitative case study, decision-makers from 2 provinces — British Columbia and Nova Scotia — reflect on the main actions they have taken and the challenges they face in improving health system efficiency. This study builds on previous work from CIHI's health system efficiency project.

Improving Health System Efficiency in Canada: Perspectives of Decision-Makers (PDF)

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