Here is one way it can be used. There are 31 hospitals that were ranked with A or A+ status. How are these top hospitals distributed across the provinces? Figure 1 shows that Alberta had 36 percent of these “A rank” hospitals – the largest share – followed by Ontario at 23 percent, then Manitoba at 13 percent. British Columbia and Quebec have none of their hospitals in the A rank category. From what I can tell, none of Quebec’s hospitals were given a grade and were unrated as they had insufficient information reported. So, this is really not a complete ranking of Canadian hospitals.
Despite this limitation, how does the share of “A ranks” compares to per capita public sector hospital spending for 2012 as forecast by the Canadian Institute for Health Information? Well, Figure 2 shows that Newfoundland, Alberta and New Brunswick spend the most public dollars per capita on hospitals while British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario spend the least. Newfoundland, Alberta and New Brunswick all have a share of the “A rank” hospitals at 7%, 36% and 6% that is larger than their share of the national population at 1.5%, 10.9% and 2.2% respectively. British Columbia and Ontario have a share of “A Ranks” of 0% and 23% respectively and population shares of 13.1% and 38.4% respectively.
Inevitably, this type of simplistic comparison can be used to suggest that spending more on health care and particularly hospital care inevitably leads to better performance outcomes. That may or may not be true in the case of hospital performance. Unfortunately, the hospital ranking data is not complete enough to allow us to draw those types of conclusions. It’s a start, but much more needs to be done least of which is acquiring a more complete set of data.