Leadership Accountability in Canadian Healthcare: Creating the momentum to improve quality

Report on the Fifth Annual CEO Forum

The theme of the 2011 CEO Forum, Leadership Accountability in Canadian Healthcare: Creating the momentum to improve quality, grew from a clear message heard at the 2010 forum: Canada must create a culture of excellence in healthcare. We wanted to use this year’s meeting to discuss how to create an atmosphere that encourages quality improvement, and to share practical strategies to create a high-performing, integrated healthcare system. We also wanted to talk about the infrastructure needed to support innovation and quality improvement; how to align accountability at different levels, and how to measure performance to improve outcomes and reduce inefficiency. The afternoon sessions explored strategies for getting better value for money in healthcare—variation research, integrated care models and disinvestments strategies. These strategies are described briefly in the “Breakout Discussion” boxes in this report.

Main Messages

  • To raise overall quality, Canadian healthcare needs to move away from its piecemeal approach to accountability (which tends to focus very narrowly on individuals, groups and organizations) and instead put system-wide standards and measures in place.
  • Standardizing quality indicators across the country would make it easier for organizations and health systems to compare and learn from each other.
  • Creating a high-performing organization requires CEOs to be strong leaders who can set clear priorities, objectives and standards for quality, and keep their teams focused on results.
  • Introducing and sustaining improvements in quality requires doing a better job of measuring how units, teams and individuals perform, and giving faster feedback to identify problems and bring about changes that last.
  • We need to invest in education to get patients more involved in managing their care and well-being.

The 2011 CEO Forum was held in Montréal, Quebec, hosted by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation in partnership with the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Canadian Medical Association. This was the fifth annual forum, an invitation-only event that brings together CEOs, policy-makers and experts to explore key issues in Canadian healthcare.

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