Bonnie Brossart, Chief Executive Officer, Health Quality Council (Saskatchewan)
There’s a sobering statement in the Health Council of Canada’s, Which way to quality, report on the collective efforts of governments and agencies at both the provincial and federal level:
“…it was clear there is no common vision for quality improvement in Canada.”
Why is that? There’s the conventional answer: because health care is a provincial jurisdiction, not a federal one. But what could we learn by digging a little deeper? What’s stopping us from exploring how we, as provinces, territories and national organizations, could become more intentional in creating the will for change, and building the networks and structures to meaningfully grow improvement capability among Canada’s tens of thousands of health care workers and leaders? We’re short-changing the people we serve when we say it’s because we’re different, or because it couldn’t work here, or because it’s just too hard.
It’s heartening to see the similarities in the hopes and challenges expressed by health system leaders from across the country. Maybe we’re not as different as we think. It’s promising to see the different quality improvement strategies that are being tested around Canada, as these will serve as rich opportunities to learn from each other. Maybe creating a common vision for quality improvement in Canada is not so far out of reach. Good ideas abound across our great country.
Yes, it’s daunting to think about building and nurturing a pan-Canadian approach to achieving better health, better care, and lower costs. But what if we started by asking “why?” five times, to unearth the real issues standing in our way? It just might help us move from simply talking about our lack of a common vision for quality improvement, to developing and acting on one.