The Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (C-QuIPS) has been my academic home for more than a decade. From being the Centre’s inaugural postdoctoral fellow, to a core member and then associate director, I am proud to have contributed to the Centre’s accomplishments over the last ten years. We have seen a rapid expansion in our Centre’s educational offerings and the establishment of C-QuIPS’ reputation nationally and internationally as a leading training and learning centre; our graduates and alumni are now leaders in their own institutions who guide organizational efforts big and small to make care outcomes and experiences for patients in our health system better.
When named Director in early 2020, I was keen to build on this momentum by crafting a renewed strategic vision, extending our reach and deepening our impact for the people and organizations we serve. Nothing could have prepared me – or the world for that matter – for the pandemic. We halted our strategic planning process as we focused our efforts on supporting patients and partners, and flattening the curve to ensure we had sufficient health system capacity and resources to provide necessary care.
The pandemic is now shaping choices made by all public institutions and continuing to test the readiness and resilience of the world’s health systems, including our own. In large measure, we are living in a reactive rather than proactive moment in history and decisions made now will have lasting repercussions. We live in a changed world.
This changed world fundamentally affects the decisions we make at C-QuIPS as we envision our future work. The pandemic has exposed the fragility of our health system which, especially when under duress, fails to provide the quality of care that people deserve and expect. What’s more, this inability to respond to shocks and discontinuities disproportionately impacts the most disadvantaged members of our society. As of November 2020, in Toronto, more than four out of every five COVID-19 cases have occurred among racialized people. Most deaths in Canada due to COVID-19 occurred in frail elderly seniors living in long-term care.
It has become clear that our quality improvement innovations must both improve outcomes and reduce inequities, which is why we at C-QuIPS have determined that the themes of health equity and health system resilience should be at the heart of our activities over the next five years. We believe this thematic focus is consistent with our founding rationale — to help meet urgent needs within our health system. While both themes are new to C-QuIPS, we believe we can and should stretch ourselves. Recognizing that we are not the experts in health equity, we will approach this new direction by first listening and learning, and looking for opportunities to work with organizations and communities already at the centre of health equity efforts.
Given this shift in strategic focus, this plan also seeks to update the Centre’s vision and mission with aspirational statements that reflect our collective sense of urgency and commitment to achieving more equitable health outcomes, and affirming the role everyone plays in creating a culture of continuous learning and improvement. I am extremely proud to share our Centre’s renewed vision, “Everyone striving towards better health outcomes for all,” which embeds equity and inclusivity at the heart of our activities, as we commit to accelerating and deepening the work of people and organizations passionate about enhancing quality and patient safety.
C-QuIPS’ greatest asset has always been its people; our core team together with the members, alumni and learners who see themselves as deeply aligned with our Centre’s mission. To fully realize the goals of our renewed plan, we need to grow our community and direct the activities of our Centre and networks toward the pressing issues our health system is facing, which align with the priorities of our partner academic and clinical organizations. Doing this, together, we will achieve quality for a changed world.
DR. BRIAN WONG