interRAI has developed an innovative suite of assessment instruments. A number of them now have official status as Canadian Approved Standards (CAS). And that’s good news for decision-makers—and those receiving care—across the health system.
CIHI has been supporting these instruments for more than a decade and has adapted several of them for use in health care settings throughout Canada, such as home care, long-term care and mental health.
Developed by interRAI, these instruments assess persons within their specific sector. The outputs generated by the assessments produce rich, evidence-based information that helps managers and policy-makers plan and measure care, understand populations and improve the quality of care and service.
The CAS designation process
As an active partner, CIHI teamed up with interRAI to apply for CAS designation of 10 interRAI assessment instruments used in several health care settings. This process is facilitated by the Standards Collaborative, the governing body responsible for CAS applications, coordinated through Canada Health Infoway.
To receive a CAS designation, applications need to generate meaningful information that supports health care providers in their ongoing efforts to communicate and share health information in a consistent, safe and reliable manner. The interRAI instruments more than fit the bill.
“Because these interRAI clinical assessments share core assessment items and use standardized language, the information is meaningful across health care sectors,” explains Adrian Dalloo, the manager of Home and Continuing Care Standards Support at CIHI.
Applications also need to demonstrate clinical and business relevance, financial and technical viability, interoperability and a governance structure. The interRAI assessment instruments meet all these criteria.
After more than a decade of successful use in Canada, the interRAI instruments were officially designated as Canadian Approved Standards in January 2014.
“Achieving the CAS designation gives confidence to stakeholders that a standard can be implemented as it was intended,” says Dalloo. “As well, it guides users to the best choice of a standard within the Canadian context for a specific purpose.”
interRAI in action
CIHI’s clients have been singing the praises of the interRAI assessment instruments for years. Sue Garton, a recently retired nurse manager with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and a former RAI coordinator, explains her experience with one of the instruments: the RAI–Mental Health (RAI-MH).
“Staff recognize that the RAI-MH can enhance service delivery and patient outcomes by being responsive to the unique experiences and goals of each client,” says Garton. And, she adds, the innovation behind the instrument allows staff to identify care concerns in real time, which helps them focus on client goals and best practices related to clients’ safety and well-being.
Dalloo explains that the benefits of the interRAI tools not only are important for decision-making at the clinical level but also help to inform decisions across the health system. “CIHI is committed to continuing to work with interRAI,” he says, “to encourage better use of digital health information to shape quality, safety and efficiency across all health systems.”
CIHI: Supporting the flow of data
Inspired by its work with interRAI and other key partners, CIHI continues to develop innovative ways to share the importance of using health data for decision-making.
Check out our latest video, which looks at an example assessment using the RAI–Home Care (RAI-HC) instrument. Following the Flow of Health Care Data takes viewers on a journey across the continuum of care by showing where and how quality data can support effective decision-making at the clinical level and for health system use.
You can also download this summary, which illustrates how CIHI supports the flow of data through its tools, products and reporting systems.