Hospitals Not Meeting Women's Need for Information

Monday, July 26 2010

Hospital Reports 2005 show women less satisfied than men with care in Ontario's For more information on the OWHC and its work, visit




System-level highlights


Hospital Reports 2005 include four reports - Rehabilitation, Emergency Department Care, Acute Care and Complex Continuing Care. The reports are based on 2003/04 data and look at five areas - patient care, patient satisfaction, dealing with change, financial condition and provide a women's health perspective. Participation by hospitals is voluntary. The reports are independently prepared by the Hospital Report Research Collaborative (HRRC) based at the University of Toronto, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) for the Ontario Hospital Association and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The reports use a balanced scorecard to report on the performance of Ontario hospitals.

Hospital Report 2005: Rehabilitation reports on the performance of 45 out of 54 Ontario hospitals that provide rehabilitation in designated, publicly-funded, adult inpatient rehabilitation beds. The report does not include information on rehabilitation services in acute care, or outpatient or community settings, or home-based care. Results are based on 2003/04 data.


Key women's health findings:


Hospital Report 2005: Emergency Department Care covers 85 per cent of emergency department visits in hospitals, and includes results for 92 out of 124 hospital corporations with emergency departments. Results are based on 2003/04 data.


Key women's health findings:


Hospital Report 2005: Acute Care reports on performance in 98 out of 123 eligible organizations that voluntarily participated in the report. It covers 95 percent of acute care hospitalizations. Results are based on 2003/04 data.


Key women's health findings:


Hospital Report 2005: Complex Continuing Care reports on results for 54 out of 106 eligible organizations (51 per cent), covering 85 per cent of patient days in complex continuing care (CCC). Results are based on 2003/04 data.


Key women's health findings:


What is the OWHC doing to improve women's health in Ontario?


What is the Hospital Report series?

TORONTO, Oct. 27 /CNW/ - Women report lower satisfaction overall with the care and services they received in Ontario's hospitals in 2003/04 than men, according to three of the four Hospital Reports 2005 recently released by the Ontario Hospital Association and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The Ontario Women's Health Council (OWHC) funded the integration of women's health indicators into the Hospital Reports 2005.

Women were most dissatisfied with the quality and amount of information they received in preparation for discharge, according to the Rehabilitation, Emergency Department Care and Acute Care reports. The OWHC strongly believes that the underlying causes of women's dissatisfaction must be explored and addressed immediately. According to the findings of three of the four Hospital Reports 2005 (Rehabilitation, Emergency Department Care and Acute Care), women are more dissatisfied than men on all indicators of patient satisfaction, particularly with respect to the quality and amount of information they receive about their condition, treatment and health-care management at home. Although these differences are small, they are consistent throughout the 2005 Rehabilitation, Emergency Department Care and Acute Care reports, across various sectors, and in previous reports. The Complex Continuing Care 2005 results, however, showed no significant difference in the satisfaction rates of women and men. Hospital Reports 2005 are independently developed by the Hospital Report Research Collaborative (HRRC) based at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

"Women are the majority users of the health-care system in Ontario, and come into contact with hospitals at several times in their lives," said Jane Pepino, chair of the OWHC. "By understanding why they report lower levels of satisfaction in their care, we get that much closer to improving the health of Ontario's women, and improving the overall satisfaction of Ontarians with the hospital sector. Further breakdown of data - such as analysis by gender, ethnicity, education and socioeconomic status - will help us understand how care and the perception of care differ for sub-populations of women."

Some hospitals are already using information from previous Hospital Reports to make positive changes in the provision of care to women. St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto, for example, has been identifying opportunities to improve patient satisfaction. It has also disseminated aggregate women's health findings so clinicians can understand the results and find opportunities for change and improvement. In order to complement hospital-based initiatives in quality improvement, however, the OWHC believes more work must be done to find out why care differs for men and women, and how this can be remedied.

"Although some hospitals have attempted to increase awareness of the patient satisfaction issue, and to improve results, more work is needed to explore why women report greater dissatisfaction. It is clear that some hospitals are still not meeting women's needs for information about their condition and treatment, or how they can manage their care at home," said Dr. Donna Stewart, a member of the OWHC. "Considering this government's transformation agenda and the current shortage of family doctors, providing women with the tools they need for self-care should be a priority."

The Emergency Department Care report also identified that more women visited the emergency department (ED) for conditions such as asthma and depression. These ED visits, which continue to add to the burden on Ontario's health system resources, might have been prevented or reduced with timely access to primary care in the community. Women with asthma were more likely than men to return to the ED within 24 to 72 hours of their initial visit, reinforcing the need to pay attention to sex- and gender-specific issues in patient management.

"These reports provide one of the most comprehensive analyses of women's experiences with hospital care anywhere in the world," said Adalsteinn Brown, Principal Researcher, HRRC. "Perhaps more importantly, they also provide a foundation for mainstreaming women's health issues into standard quality improvement programs."

The Hospital Reports are used to inform quality improvement initiatives. For example, based on the findings of the Hospital Report 2003: Complex Continuing Care, the OWHC is funding a multi-hospital quality improvement initiative, called IC5 ("Improving Continence Care in Complex Continuing Care"). IC5 looks specifically at urinary incontinence (UI). UI is far more common in women (1 in 4 women versus 1 in 10 men) and is a common cause of long-term institutionalization, social isolation and loss of function and quality of life. Women commonly experience a decline in physical functioning and loss of mobility as a result of this condition.

All four Hospital Reports 2005 as well as previous reports are available at


The Ontario Women's Health Council was established by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in 1998. It provides the minister with expert advice on women's health and acts as an advocate for change in the health-care system. Council members have a wide range of expertise in fields such as research, public and community health, and corporate and consumer issues as they relate to women.


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