Survey after survey show that Canadians are extremely concerned about the state of our health care system. Yet each year millions and millions of dollars more are spent on health care, with little results.

So what is going on? Where does all the money go? Does the number of dollars spent mean the care improves? This paper shows that is a very difficult question to answer because there is so little available data.

Despite the millions of Canadian tax dollars spent annually on health care and the assessment of that health care system’s performance, there is surprisingly little information that is publicly available and accessible about the quality of the care patients receive.

Not only that, but what information is available is often spread through a maze of technical reports in a variety of locations making it difficult to find, put together, and understand. Even hospital annual reports are surprisingly devoid of performance information. This deficiency makes it incredibly difficult for the public to be assured that their taxes are being used to provide the best quality of care possible: care that is safe, effective, and timely.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You provides a Quality of Care Indicator Framework that focuses on the quality of care patients receive from hospitals. It uses seven indicators to gain a more accurate picture of how well hospitals are improving patient health care. This paper identifies the information that is needed to assess the quality of care since the analysis of specific indicators, shorter wait times, and fewer errors are associated with a higher quality of care.


Not surprisingly, for those critics of Canada’s health care system, this paper identifies significant gaps between the information that needs to be collected, compiled, and publicly reported, and what is actually available.

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