OurHealthSystem.ca: A window on Canada’s health system

OurHealthSystem.ca: A window on Canada’s health system

For the first time, Canadians have answers to some of their most frequently asked questions about how their health care system is performing. Can I get the health services I need, when I need them? How good is the care I receive and is it safe? How much do the health services in hospitals cost the system? How well is the system working to help me stay healthy and avoid getting sick? Are Canadians actually getting healthier?

The answers to these questions and others can be found on OurHealthSystem.ca, a new interactive website that gives Canadians an overview of how well their health care system is performing—by province, by region and, in some cases, by hospital. It was developed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and launched in early November.

OurHealthSystem.ca provides information that

  • Canadians want to see
  • Is relevant and easy to understand
  • Is easy to share

The website explores the five areas of performance measurement Canadians told us were most important to them:

  • Access
  • Quality of care
  • Spending
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Health outcomes

The site displays comparative results on 15 indicators within these areas using clear, easy-to-read infographics and plain language.

How do we measure up?

The website shows that Canada’s health system is performing well in some areas, but improvements are still needed in others. Here’s a snapshot of some of the results:

Access: While most Canadians are getting cancer radiation treatment in a timely fashion, waits are increasing for joint replacements.

Quality of care: A significant drop in hospital deaths suggests that the quality of hospital care is improving overall in Canada; however, 1 in 12 Canadians is readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge.

Spending: Spending on health care varies greatly across the country, even after considering age differences in the population.

Health promotion and disease prevention: While smoking rates are declining in Canada, obesity rates continue to rise.

Health outcomes: Canadians are living longer than ever, but they are not benefiting equally from improvements in health. 

In addition to being a treasure trove of information for the public, the site is proving a valuable resource for decision-makers, serving as a reference to support better decisions and enhance our health system’s transparency. 

“While the new website is geared toward the public, this information can also be useful for planners and policy-makers within the health care system. It is important to understand who is doing well so others can learn from them, which is why top performers are identified for some indicators,” said Kira Leeb, CIHI’s Director of Health System Performance.

What’s next?

OurHealthSystem.ca is just the first step in providing more interactive and accessible information on health system performance. In 2014, CIHI will release a second phase of the site that includes additional performance measures for regions and hospitals as well as new ways to compare them.

CIHI will also host a national consensus conference to bring together stakeholders for a discussion on future priorities as we plan to undertake even more performance reporting and indicator development.

Join the conversation

See. Know. Share! Help us spread the word by telling your friends, family and colleagues about OurHealthSystem.ca. Share the site’s infographics on social media and be sure to include the hashtag #OurHealthSystem to join the conversation.

You can also follow CIHI’s Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages for the latest online postings and forward these messages to your own connections.