Interprovincial comparisons remain a challenge
February 29, 2008 – Most provinces are now regularly reporting patient wait times for priority area procedures on publicly accessible websites. However, comparable provincial data are still not available, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), in its annual update on wait times reporting.
CIHI’s analysis found that the provinces have made improvements to the timeliness, breadth and level of detail of wait times reporting. Five provinces (one more than last year) now report on all five wait time priority areas (heart, cancer, sight restoration, diagnostic imaging and joint replacements). As well, trend data on wait times are beginning to emerge for individual provinces, allowing them to measure progress over time. Variation in measurement approaches still prevents interprovincial comparisons.
CIHI’s third annual analysis includes updated information on provincial wait times reporting as of December 2007 and provides a province-by-province summary of approaches used to report on wait times such as definitions, summary measures and time frames.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects and analyzes information on health and health care in Canada and makes it publicly available. Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments created CIHI as a not-for-profit, independent organization dedicated to forging a common approach to Canadian health information. CIHI’s goal: to provide timely, accurate and comparable information. CIHI’s data and reports inform health policies, support the effective delivery of health services and raise awareness among Canadians of the factors that contribute to good health. www.cihi.ca.