On February 25th the healthcare funding team attended the 26th annual Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) health policy conference held in Vancouver, BC. This year’s conference, titled “Performance Anxiety,” focused on the measurement of healthcare system performance; what is being done, how, and the impact of performance measurement on healthcare system change. Speakers represented researchers, clinicians, policy-makers and patient voices from across Canada, the UK and Australia. Among the speakers, there was a general agreement that performance measurement in Canada is a work in progress due to uncoordinated and unstructured reporting, limitations in access to timely data, and challenges on deciding what performance indicators or benchmarks to focus on to make a change in the quality of the healthcare system. Some other key themes that emerged during the conference were the audience for public reporting (for example, patients in Canada seem to be ambivalent, while patients in Australia are more engaged in performance results), the ethics surrounding performance reporting, the effect of data burden on both patients and policy-makers (how much is too much?), and how to improve performance indicators to better capture performance over time and space. In addition, panels discussed ways to effectively target public performance reports to evoke change in the healthcare system. Despite the uncertainties surrounding performance measurement in Canada, it’s clear from the dialogue during the conference that it plays a key role in measuring the potential improvement of the Canadian health system. There are many groups working to increase the effectiveness of performance measurement in Canadian healthcare, and it will definitely be a field to watch for new developments.
To access speaker slides from the 2014 CHSPR health policy conference, please click here.