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Partner Profile: Health Quality Ontario


In this issue of the NeuroMatters: Partner Profile we are zoning in on an agency recognized as the provincial lead on the quality of care, Health Quality Ontario (HQO). The agency supports health care professionals by providing objective data and advice to improve health care for the people of Ontario. Through knowledge translation activities like clinical standard developments, HQO ensures best-practice implementation is integrated across Ontario’s health care system.

HQO’s critical roles include:

  • monitoring and reporting to the people of Ontario, government and health care providers on how the health care system is performing
  • supporting continuous quality improvement;
  • promoting health care that is supported by the best available scientific evidence by,
    • making recommendations to health care organizations and other entities on standards of care in the health system, based on or respecting clinical practice guidelines and protocols, and
    • making recommendations based on evidence, concerning the Government of Ontario’s provision of funding for health care services and medical devices.

HQO Quality Standards

HQO has become known for its role in the development and supporting adoptionof Quality Standards, making the agency a go-to resource for clinicians, care providers and patients alike. Based on up-to-date evidence, quality standards provide a framework for what quality care should look like for both clinicians and patients by focusing on conditions or topics where there are large variations in how care is delivered, or where there are gaps in the care patients should receive. The standards are developed in collaboration with clinicians, patients, caregivers and organizations who make up an Advisory Committee to guide the process. There are four main goals with each quality standard, they enable:

  1. Patients, residents, families and caregivers to know what to discuss about their care with their health care professionals;
  2. Health care professionals to offer the highest-quality care based on the best available evidence;
  3. Health care organizations and professionals to measure, reflect on their practice and improve the quality of their care;
  4. Health system planners to create the environment for health care professionals and organizations to deliver quality care.

Each quality standard is accompanied by additional resources that complete the package:

  • A patient guide for patients, families and caregivers to guide discussions with their health care providers
  • Quality indicator data tables on how care is being delivered for that condition or topic in Ontario and the variations in care;
  • Measurement guide for health care professionals and organizations to help them with their improvement efforts;
  • Recommendations for adoption at the system, regional and practice levels to help health care professionals and organizations adopt the standards; and
  • A case for improvement slide deck that outlines why this quality standard was created and the data behind it, to support organizations working on putting the quality standard into practice.

Partnership Details: Quality Standards for Concussion Care

ONF has recently partnered with HQO to create a Quality Standard on Concussion. This quality standard will complement the ONF Standards for Post-Concussion Care and will be informed by clinical practice guidelines. ONF has built a firm foundation in the public sphere of concussion care and management; the strategic partnership with HQO, having extensive experience in the development of Quality Standards, allows both groups to produce up-to-date evidence-based standards to support high-quality management of concussions. By combining resources, we hope to see greater developments, dissemination and ultimately meaningful impact on concussion care in Ontario.

CORPORATE ANNOUNCEMENT – February 2021(Click to learn more)