One big challenge in health system reform is identifying the levers or mechanisms that can drive lasting system-wide change. Cancer Care Ontario and the advisory Cancer Quality Council of Ontario have shown the great potential of concentrated attention and coordinated planning, organization and delivery around this key health challenge.
CQCO plays a vital role in measuring, monitoring and reporting on the cancer care system. It identified that the system was not as equitable as it should be and that became the focus of this year’s Signature Event. One of the key ways the Council fulfills its mandate, these annual conferences bring together leaders and practitioners from across the system and beyond. The Signature Events have a solid track record of leading to significant system and delivery changes.
It was a great pleasure to be on the planning committee for this event. We developed a framework to focus discussion on the barriers and problems to solve, possible directions and interventions that could move us to solutions, and some possible ideas for focussed actions that could be picked up out of the conference.
The Signature Event had a tremendous range of comprehensive presentations and discussions from across Ontario and other jurisdictions. I made one of the opening presentations setting out an equity toolkit of evidence-based directions, tools, techniques, promising practices and initiatives that could be adapted to the cancer care system. My last call in the toolkit was to identify what the sector will do and then pull together these initiatives and projects into a coherent overall equity roadmap.
We were asking event participants to identify a small number of actions that could make a major difference — here were my three:
- adapt and implement equity-relevant cancer care data
- systematically collect across the system
- build into measurement and monitoring
- build equity into system and provider performance management
- adapt most relevant indicators, deliverables and incentives for this context
- use proven tools like standards, HEIA, etc. to operationalize
- build community partnerships
- to address access barriers, unmet needs and populations left behind
- to build a web of support for people with cancer