As the Ontario government’s advisor on the cancer and renal systems, as well as on access to care for key health services, Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) drives continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience for chronic diseases.
Known for its innovation and evidence-based approaches, CCO leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards, and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease – through the Ontario Renal Network – and access to care.
CCO began life in April 1943 as the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. More than a half century later, in 1997, it was formally launched and funded as Cancer Care Ontario. CCO is governed by The Cancer Act and is accountable to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).
CCO directs and oversees approximately $1.5 billion in funding for hospitals and other cancer and chronic kidney disease care providers, enabling them to deliver high quality, timely services and improved access to care. CCO employs about 1,000 staff members, all of whom are critical elements that contribute to the success of this organization.
As the government’s cancer advisor, CCO:
Implements provincial cancer prevention and screening programs.
Works with cancer care professionals and organizations to develop and implement quality improvements and standards.
Uses electronic information and technology to support health professionals and patient self-care, and to continually improve the safety, quality, efficiency, accessibility and accountability of Ontario’s cancer services.
Plans cancer services to meet current and future patient needs, and works with healthcare providers in every Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to continually improve cancer care for the people they serve.
Conducts research and rapidly transfers knowledge of new research into improvements and innovations in clinical practice and cancer service delivery.
While CCO’s public identity is tied directly to the fight against cancer, the organization also established and houses the Ontario Renal Network and the Ontario government’s Access to Care program, which supports the province’s Wait Times Strategy.
Ontario Renal Network
The Ontario Renal Network (ORN) was established in 2009 to lead a province-wide effort to better organize and manage the delivery of dialysis and renal services across the province for patients living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). ORN’s mission is to work together to improve the life of every person with kidney disease. The ORN works through 26 regional CKD programs to improve the quality of kidney care across the province.
The ORN’s goal is to improve CKD management by preventing or delaying the need for dialysis, broadening appropriate CKD patient-care options, improving the quality of all stages of CKD care and building a world-class system for delivering care to Ontarians living with CKD.
Access to Care
In 2004, Canada’s First Ministers made a national commitment to reduce wait times for key healthcare services. In Ontario, this commitment resulted in the MOHLTC’s Wait Time Strategy and its subsequent Emergency Room/Alternate Level of Care (ER/ALC) Strategy.
The success of these initiatives rested on information and technology capabilities that could collect and report accurate, reliable and timely wait time data. CCO was assigned to develop and deploy the Wait Time Information System to capture and report this data in near real-time. Subsequently, CCO was given the task of implementing key parts of the ER/ALC Information Strategy.
As the service delivery agent for the Wait Times Strategy and ER/ALC Information Strategy, Access to Care enables improvements in the access, quality and efficiency of healthcare services. It also helps to reduce wait times by implementing and using Information Management /Information Technology solutions, and by tracking patients as they move across the continuum of care.