Discussions of quality assurance mechanisms for health professions are increasing in Canada. In their roles of protecting the public from incompetent or unsafe health care, and enhancing the quality of care provided by practitioners, provincial licensing organizations are taking an interest in quality assurance programmes. The paper reports the results from a national survey of five self-regulating health professions (dentistry, medicine, nursing, optometry and pharmacy) in Canada. The study found two types of activities in place--a complaints programme and a routine audit programme. Both programmes use a similar approach to identifying poor performers within a health profession. The paper discusses the results of the study, the advantages and disadvantages of the approach used, and suggests a second approach to quality assurance which could be used in conjunction with current activities.
While the public health benefits of supervised injection facilities (SIFs) have been well documented, there is a lack of research examining the views of injection drug users (IDU) regarding the operation of these facilities. This study used 50 semistructured qualitative interviews to explore IDU perspectives on the design and operation of an SIF in Vancouver, Canada. Although the environment and operation of the SIF are well accepted, long wait times and limited operating hours, as well as regulations that prohibit sharing drugs and assisted injections, pose barriers to using the SIF. Modifying operating procedures and expanding the capacity of the current facility could address these barriers.
This study aimed to test the hypothesis that there is a difference in mortality between patients hospitalized with acute chest pain in a university hospital and those hospitalized in a county hospital, and to describe differences in characteristics and use of medical resources in these two settings. All patients hospitalized at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Göteborg (with a catchment population of 706 inhabitants/km(2)) and Uddevalla County Hospital (with a catchment population of 34 inhabitants/km(2)) with symptoms of acute chest pain during a registration period of 6 months were included in the study. A total of 1592 patients in the city hospital and 822 in the county hospital fulfilled the given criteria for inclusion. Patients in the urban area differed from those in the rural area in that they had a lower prevalence of previous angina pectoris and hypertension and a higher prevalence of previous cancer, previous percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and current smoking. On admission to hospital, patients in the urban area less frequently showed clinical signs of congestive heart failure and acute ischaemia on the electrocardiogram (ECG) but more frequently had a pathological ECG without signs of ischaemia and more frequently had a heart rate >100 beats/min. The use of medical resources differed between the two hospitals. Revascularization was more frequent in the city hospital and the use of -blockers in the county hospital. The overall 30 day mortality was 4.7% in the urban area and 4.3% in the rural area (P=0.74). When correcting for differences at baseline, the risk ratio for death in the county hospital versus the city hospital was 0.84 (95% confidence interval 0.51-1.40, P=0.53). In conclusion, among patients hospitalized with acute chest pain in a city university and a county hospital the mortality during the subsequent 30 days did not differ. However, there were differences in terms of the use of medical resources and in previous history, chronic medication prior to hospital admission and status on admission between the two cohorts.