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Safer cancer care for Ontarians


2017 Cancer System Quality Index highlights strengths and challenges of provincial system

Toronto, ON (May 17, 2017) – Ontarians continue to see improvements to safety and quality of care within their cancer system according to the 2017 Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI), a quality improvement index that highlights where cancer service providers can advance the quality and performance of care. The interactive web-based public reporting tool, released today by the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO), indicates that many processes in place for a safe cancer system have been performing well and that Ontario patients are receiving care based on the best evidence from across the care continuum.

“It’s important to measure areas of the system that need improvement,” said Virginia McLaughlin, Chair of the CQCO. “This year’s results demonstrate that Ontario continues to make progress in the safety indicators that we’re measuring, however, there is room for improvement. A better understanding of complications of care and supporting patients’ needs, during active treatment, would further improve patient experience and outcomes.”

Measuring what Matters: 2017 CSQI

The CSQI found several improvements to safety this year within the cancer system. These improvements show how the system is responding to the benchmarks that are set for each indicator:

  • Perforation during colonoscopies: Ontario is performing well when it comes to safety for diagnostic or therapeutic colposcopies. The rate of perforation within seven days of a procedure is well below Cancer Care Ontario’s target of less than 1 perforation per 1, 000 colonoscopies.
  • Drug ordering for chemotherapy: Ontario has seen continuous improvement to the implementation of computerized prescriber drug ordering systems for chemotherapy. The implementation of Systemic Treatment Computerized Prescriber Order Entry has consistently increased since 2004. Computerized drug ordering systems have been shown to reduce errors for prescribed chemotherapy regimens from 15 percent to near zero.
  • Peer review: Peer review among radiation oncologists across Ontario is also on the rise, increasing quality assurance and safety within the system. The overall Ontario average of curative cases being peer reviewed is 77 per cent, which exceeds the 2015/2016 target of 75 per cent.

The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario encourages Cancer Care Ontario to continue its leadership in driving evidence and quality improvement across the system and recommends that it prioritize the responsive, integrated and efficient measures for future reporting by focusing on: improvements to real-time measures of patient experience and outcomes, coordination across transition points and optimizing resources based on evidence. Improving access to testing, screening and supportive services have been identified as priorities for Cancer Care Ontario to address moving forward.

“Cancer Care Ontario is committed to working with health system partners and patients to continually improve Ontario's cancer system so that it can be the best in the world for all Ontarians,” said Michael Sherar, President & CEO, CCO. “The CSQI helps us identify and keep a focus on those areas where improvements need to be made.”

The CSQI is a quality improvement tool which has been released annually since 2005 and identifies gaps in the cancer system, driving improvement through regional, provincial, national and international benchmarking. The CSQI evolves year-over-year, retiring indicators when performance reaches or surpasses targets, or when there is a more accurate way to measure the system. The CSQI informs Cancer Care Ontario’s overall action plan, helping to determine priorities and allocation of resources.

The 2017 CSQI reports on a total of 35 indicators spanning the continuum of cancer care from screening to survivorship, along with several measures related to cancer prevention. Visit to review all the indicators and this year’s interactive reporting tool.

About the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario

The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (, established in 2002 by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), is an arm’s length advisory group to Cancer Care Ontario, set up to provide advice to Cancer Care Ontario and the MOHLTC in their efforts to improve the quality of cancer care in the province. The CQCO has a mandate to monitor and report publicly on the performance of the Ontario cancer system annually via the Cancer System Quality Index and provides international comparisons and benchmarking to allow Ontario to learn from other jurisdictions. The CQCO is composed of healthcare providers, cancer survivors, family members and experts in the areas of oncology, health system policy, performance measurement, health services research and healthcare governance. For more information on the CQCO, visit

For further information about the CSQI, please see the backgrounder.


Carla Maggiotto
Phone: 416-342-1829
Mobile: 416-710-8464