Measuring What Matters: The Cost vs. Values of Health Care

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There is a clear misalignment between what Canadians value, and how Canadian health system performance is measured and funded. Canadian values have shifted substantially in recent years, towards a preference for greater autonomy and empowerment in managing their health care and management. Canadians’ values reflect the desire for a more “personalized” health care system, one that engages every individual patient in a collaborative partnership with health providers, to make decisions that support health, wellness, and quality of life. Yet, health systems are focused on performance management in terms of costs, operational inputs, such as services delivered, or quality measures such as medication errors, readmissions to hospital, and mortality rates.

Canadians perceive health care as one of the most fundamentally important features of our society. There have been numerous studies of Canada’s health care system, and in every work to date, the perspectives and views of Canadians have been an important frame of reference for health system renewal and reform.