Community Learning Space

The infraNET Project and 
Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research
at the University of Waterloo

present ...

The Challenge of Measuring Outcomes
in the Healthcare System


Dr. David Zitner
Director, Medical Informatics
Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Davis Centre, Room 1302
University of Waterloo

This seminar is of interest to Health and IT Executives, IS/IT Staff, Faculty and Students.
There is no charge for this event, however, we ask that you register to attend.
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Presentation Archive 2003-2004

Canadian health care is unmanageable because patients, politicians and providers don't have the information necessary to support personal, policy or administrative choices. Health system commentators uniformly recommend a focus on outcomes, yet no jurisdiction is able to specify the benefits and harms from our large expenditures on health care. Clinicians must estimate health status at each clinical visit, yet the information is rarely captured to support outcome reporting.

This talk reviews the purposes of health care and discusses how health outcomes can be captured as part of the routine work of health care. It includes a description of an ongoing health outcomes project. The presentation is aimed to give the audience an understanding of the importance of measuring health outcomes, how health outcomes could be captured, and what questions each of us should be asking our clinicians, health service administrators, and politicians.

David Zitner, a family doctor, is Director of Medical Informatics in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. He has served as a member of the Physician Advisory Committee to the Canadian Institute for Health Information and on the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Deputy Ministers of Health Working Group, which produced "When Less is Better: Using Canada's Hospitals Efficiently." He is a co-author of the Fisher Prize winning paper "Operating in the Dark: The Gathering Crisis in Canada's Publicly Funded Health Care System", "Public Health: State Secret", and "Health Care Decision Support Systems: Methods to Identify Pertinent and Superfluous Activity". Recently funded research includes HEALTHInfo Rx, a project that will provide decision support to patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and collect back information about results.

Dr. Zitner was diverted from an active family medicine practice when he chaired a medical audit and utilization committee at a large tertiary care teaching hospital and learned that Canadian communities are lacking the information which is essential to manage and understand our large and complex health system. Dr. Zitner found a continuing absence of regular, pertinent and reliable information about access to care (waiting times) and information about the results of care. Consequently, his research interests relate to the collection and use of timely information including outcomes measures, to support clinical care, teaching an, research and health services administration.

For more information

Shirley Fenton
Managing Director, WIHIR
The infraNET Project
Computer Systems Group, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4074

Seminar Hosts

This seminar is hosted by the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research (WIHIR) and The infraNET Project, University of Waterloo.

The infraNET Project, initiated by the University of Waterloo in 1996, is a partnership to advance Web and Internet technologies. Its founding partners are: LivePage (now part of Siebel), MKS, Open Text, RIM, Sybase (Waterloo) and Waterloo Maple.

We also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Institute for Computer Research, University of Waterloo.