How can the health system decide when certain health services need to be improved? Typically, a need for improvement is signaled in one of three ways:
a) Patients indicate they are dissatisfied with how the service is delivered;
b) Population health outcomes show that the service isn’t producing the desired results;
c) Financial information shows that the costs associated with the service are higher than desired or than can be sustained.
All of these reasons are valid reasons to improve services, and those responsible for improvement efforts should be aware of all three types of improvement when planning and implementing their work.
Improvement efforts that are based on all three types of improvement are said to be operating using a Triple-Aim approach. This is often described in Canada as “Better care, health, and cost,” with all three included in developing the desired outcome for the improvement effort.
For NBHC, using a Triple-Aim approach means providing all the required indicators for a specific service for a particular population (all of NB or a specific demographic group), including the resources and costs related to delivering that service to the population. This ensures that those working on improving services can see the “big picture” and develop a solution that does produce better care, health and cost.