Excellence in Quality

The Tri-Hospital + Toronto Public Health Health Equity Data Collection Research Project Report

We Ask Because We Care

The Tri-Hospital + Toronto Public Health Health Equity Data Collection Research Project Report
Summary Report (1.8 MB pdf file)
Full Compendium Report (3.9 MB pdf file)

Three Toronto hospitals with diverse patient populations identified an acute need in 2010 for quality patient socio-demographic data and launched a pilot project to develop an evidence-based approach for collecting this information. A year later, Toronto Public Health formally joined this effort by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital.

Data collection and analysis is crucial to the health care system’s ability to meet the diverse needs of Toronto’s population and improve the quality of health care overall. Additionally, hospitals are able to know more about the patients they serve to better meet their needs

The organizations aimed to answer three key questions:

  • What are the best methods to collect patient demographic data?
  • What questions are most effective for capturing useful data while maximizing comfort of both staff and patients?
  • What is the relationship between demographic factors (e.g., language, disability, etc.) and self-reported health?

Prior to launching the pilot project, the partners conducted a literature review and environmental scan, identified the demographic questions and developed training materials for data collectors. Data was collected on patients’ race, age, preferred language to speak and read, length of residency in Canada, housing status, disability status, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and income. A variety of data collection methods were used to reflect the unique patient populations of each site, while allowing the partners to examine the impact of different collection techniques on data quality. The data collectors gathered patient information through in-person interviews, paper copies and computer tablets in waiting rooms.

The project was an overwhelming success with a patient participation rate exceeding 85 per cent. Given its potential for transforming patient care, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network issued a directive requiring all its 17 hospitals to begin collecting data from patients using eight core socio-demographic questions.

Click on the links below to find out more about the project or to read the full report.

Summary Report (1.8 MB pdf file)
Full Compendium Report (3.9 MB pdf file)

Contacts

Branka Agic, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)   branka.agic@camh.ca

Marylin Kanee, Mount Sinai Hospital   MKanee@mtsinai.on.ca

Anthony Mohamed, St. Michael’s Hospital   MohamedA@smh.ca

Ruby Lam, Toronto Public Health   rlam@toronto.ca