Health Equity

Survey helps ensure access and quality

Health Equity Data Collection

March 2013

(Toronto) Beginning March 31, 2013 West Park, along with other hospitals in the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC-LHIN), will be piloting a new way to evaluate and plan quality measures by collecting demographic information from patients.

By answering a standard, voluntary survey called “We Ask Because We Care,” patients at West Park will provide important information that will increase access to services and ensure the best quality of care. The survey will be piloted on the Tuberculosis unit and rolled out to the entire hospital at a later date.

Collecting such data can also:

  • Provide information about the prevalence of specific conditions and outcomes in particular groups;
  • Determine the composition of the community being served;
  • Ensure health care serves individual needs; and
  • Help develop system-wide changes to reduce health inequities.

The collection of this data will also enable all TC-LHIN hospitals to share best practices.

Patient participation is completely voluntary and if at any time a patient feels uncomfortable, they have the option to skip that question and move onto the next.

The survey asks eight simple questions and three additional optional questions. The data collected will be confidential, as with all patient records.

What is health equity?

Health equity means ensuring quality care and the best possible outcomes regardless of race, religion, language, income or any other individual characteristics.

To understand health inequities means knowing what the social determinants of health are and how they affect patients’ care. Social determinants of health are social and economic factors such as housing, wealth, religion, gender etc.

Providing excellent care cannot be achieved without integrating an equity component. This new method of data collection will help do that.

“As we continue to grow and improve our services, this information will help in creating more best practices for the care of our patients,” says Leslie LeGresley, manager of Respiratory Continuing Care and the Tuberculosis Unit who is co-ordinating the project.