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Government & policy

Ontario consolidates several agencies into one

TORONTO – Ontario is consolidating its healthcare improvement work into Health Quality Ontario (HQO). The organization will bring under one roof the former Ontario Health Quality Council and five other organizations and programs – the Medical Advisory Secretariat, the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, the Ontario Health Technology Evaluation Fund, the Centre for Healthcare Quality Improvement and the Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership.

This move will save approximately $2 million that will be reinvested into frontline healthcare. HQO will help to strengthen existing expertise and capacity in the areas of healthcare quality monitoring, evidence-based care standards development and quality improvement supports to healthcare providers. The organization will also improve efficiency and provide the most value to Ontarians by ensuring that future healthcare investments are based on the best evidence.

Health Quality Ontario will recommend best practices and evidence-based standards of care and support healthcare providers in adopting practices that are patient-driven. One of HQO’s first initiatives is to oversee the hospitals’ quality improvement plans and help ensure that hospital executives’ compensation is tied to performance.

Ontario Health Quality Council (OHQC)
The OHQC measures and reports to the public on the overall quality of healthcare services in Ontario. It also supports providers of long-term care in their efforts to improve quality. HQO is founded on the statutory and operational foundations of the OHQC. OHQC was set up by the Ontario government as an independent organization in 2005 to monitor all aspects of the health system, to report to the people of Ontario on its quality and to encourage continuous improvement. In June 2010, The Excellent Care for All Act expanded the Council’s role and mandate.

Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS)
The MAS was a branch within the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that conducted evidence-based analyses of health services and new health technologies to inform decision-making by the healthcare system, the ministry and other government agencies. The Secretariat reviewed existing scientific evidence and consulted with healthcare experts, including the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC), to ensure Ontarians have access to the best available new health technologies that will improve patient outcomes.

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC)
The OHTAC has been a committee of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that provided advice to the ministry and the healthcare system regarding the use and distribution of new health technologies – as well as the removal of obsolete health technologies. It relies on the analyses conducted by the MAS to make its recommendations. OHTAC will become a committee of HQO’s Board.

Ontario Health Technology Evaluation Fund (OHTEF)
The Ontario Health Technology Evaluation Fund provided designated funding to support research and field evaluation of health technologies that are to be used in the province.

Centre for Healthcare Quality Improvement (CHQI)
The CHQI initiated, coordinated and supported collaborative improvement initiatives at healthcare organizations, particularly hospitals and Community Care Access Centres, helping them achieve better results in performance outcomes. CHQI applied quality improvement lessons learned from high-performing healthcare systems around the world.

Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership (QIIP)
The QIIP provided quality improvement support to primary healthcare providers, such as family doctors and nurse practitioners. It worked with healthcare providers to share and spread improvements and innovation.

Posted April 21, 2011