“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle


On April 1, hospitals across Ontario posted their annual Quality Improvement Plans (QIP) outlining the areas that a hospital will focus on to improve the quality of care that patients receive. A QIP fulfills the reporting requirements of the Excellent Care for All Act and includes specific improvement targets that hospitals can use to ensure overall accountability.

Osler’s 2014-15 QIP helps us to focus our efforts and communicate our improvement goals to the public. It’s one part of our overall quality plan and plays an important role in ensuring we deliver innovative, patient-inspired care in a safe environment.

While our targets are set high, we take continuous quality improvement seriously. Looking at the progress report for last year’s QIP, we’ve met more than 50 per cent of our targets while others remain a challenge. We will continue to work with our partners, staff and physicians to improve on those more indicators in the future. The final results of the 2012-13 QIP won’t be reported until data from Q4 has been calculated.

In the year ahead, we will focus on seven areas of opportunity that are most meaningful to patients and their families. The results of our improvement efforts this year will mean:

  • Asking for patient feedback and immediately sharing the results with clinical teams in order to better serve the needs of Osler patients;
  • Using technology and improving communication between clinicians to reduce the wait time for patients waiting to be transferred to inpatient beds from the emergency departments;
  • Reducing the risk of patients getting an infection; and,
  • Working with community health care partners to reduce avoidable emergency department visits and overnight hospital stays by providing access to more scheduled outpatient and virtual visits.

We’re already making strides to achieve these ambitious quality improvement goals. For example, sharing patient feedback in daily performance huddles on the units enables clinical staff to evaluate how they are doing and determine where they can make changes to improve patient care.

Building on our Strategic Plan, the QIP supports Osler’s continued efforts to improve our delivery of safe, accessible quality care to the communities we serve.

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

The journey from dream to reality can be a long road but there are many opportunities to celebrate successes along the way. Last week we had a lot to celebrate at Osler, starting with two big announcements about the redevelopment of our hospital sites.

The Honourable Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care visited Etobicoke General Hospital to tour our renovated Day Surgery unit and to talk about the tremendous progress the hospital is making in its redevelopment journey – particularly on our plans to construct a new four-storey wing. Strong support of government partners is extremely important and demonstrates a commitment to working with us to press forward with our exciting redevelopment plans.

Osler is moving full steam ahead with renovation and expansion activities at Etobicoke General. We are working with Stantec Architecture to finalize details on a contract that will see us work with them on the planning and design of the new four-storey wing. Stantec Architecture will help us to create the plan for what the actual clinical space will look like and how it will function – as well as help to form the RFP that we will send to bid teams once we arrive at that phase of the project. Preparations for the next phase of the project are also underway to get the facility ready for construction of the new wing.

We also moved closer to breaking ground on the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness with the announcement of Plenary Health as the team chosen to build, design, finance and maintain the new facility. Following an extensive evaluation process led by Infrastructure Ontario (IO), Plenary Health came out on top and we will work with IO over the next two months to finalize contract details.

Our busy week wouldn’t be complete without a social media master, a tech expert and a student walking into the atrium at Brampton Civic Hospital. It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but this really was the scene when we announced the winner of our Kiss My App mobile app contest during a star-studded award ceremony.

Atinderpal Singh Multani was named the winner of a $10,000 grand prize and unveiled his winning app – HosNav. The app’s approach to wayfinding, emergency department (ED) wait time checking and diagnostic imaging prep will help to transform the Osler hospital experience by providing better, more personalized service for patients and families.

Star power was provided by special guests Evan Hadfield, the man behind his father Chris Hadfield’s astronomical social media campaign, and Marc Saltzman, tech expert and host of Gear Guide, who were on hand to announce the winner.

It was an incredible event so check out our Facebook photo gallery if you missed it! More information about the HosNav app will be available in the time ahead as we prepare to make the app available in June.

“The future is friendly” – Telus

The mobile space has enormous potential in the business of health care. Canadians are relying more and more on mobile networks to help keep pace with increasingly mobile lifestyles. As a result, there are some pretty fantastic ways to stay connected no matter where we are.

Last fall, we launched our first national mobile app contest, Kiss My App which challenged undergrad students to come up with an idea that would benefit our patients and families.  In addition to harnessing the creative energy and out-of-box-thinking that students bring to their work, Kiss My App is looking to students to come up with fresh and innovative ways to identify and address what they see as perceived issues in health care.

With the contest down to five short-listed teams, the judging round is underway. While our student teams have been hard at work designing and building their apps, we have been busy putting together short videos on each team, establishing a great panel of judges that include representatives from within the hospital and our patient community, and securing some tech/social media experts to join us for the grand prize announcement in late March. We’re very excited to announce that well-known technology personality and host of Gear Guide, Marc Saltzman, will be the event’s keynote speaker and Evan Hadfield – known for being the man behind his dad’s wildly successful social media campaign from outer space – will be our event host. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 25 from 2 – 3pm at Brampton Civic Hospital’s Atrium.

From ideas about health care gamification to crowdsourced emergency department wait times, all of the student teams have obviously put a lot of thought and effort into their ideas.  They have different educational backgrounds, but they all have a single passion for improving health care.

I’m excited to see the results of this competition, and more importantly, I’m inspired to learn about new ideas from different perspectives. After all, these are the people who will drive health care in the future, into a new and different territory: mobile health.

“The future is today.” – Sir William Osler

In Ontario, health care costs consume 40 cents of each tax dollar collected and based on current trends in inflation, population growth and aging, the cost for health care will continue to grow. Chronic disease is becoming more common and people are living longer, which puts additional pressure on the system.

At this rate, we cannot afford to continue along this path.

The demand for health care services is growing faster than the funds available. Our current health care system relies heavily on expensive unscheduled care, which is unsustainable in the long run. Hospitals all across the province are dealing with this challenge and Osler is not immune. We can make two changes now so we can continue to provide patient-inspired health care to our communities well into the future:

  1. Increase our capacity to treat more patients with the same resources without sacrificing quality
  2. Reduce the future demand for health care services by focusing on prevention

This is easier said than done. But we know this is a challenge we can’t afford (literally) to ignore. We’ve spent much of the past year delivering on our Strategic Plan, developing our new Clinical Priorities Plan and building relationships with health care partners so we can meet these challenges head on. Some of the approaches Osler is taking include:

  • Shifting our areas of focus to meet the changing needs of the patient population. To do this we must be deliberate in shifting much-needed funding from underutilized areas to invest in areas where there is high demand (e.g. outpatient services).
  • Management of chronic diseases on an outpatient basis remains a top priority at Osler. One example of this approach is our diabetes education centre and the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care, which provide support for newly diagnosed patients as well as highly specialized care from a multidisciplinary team for patients with complex needs. Equipping patients with the knowledge and tools to effectively manage their condition keeps them healthier and out of the emergency department.
  • Specially designed facilities will elevate the impact and value of outpatient care by offering community education, prevention, chronic disease management and treatment, and wellness programs to the people living in our region.
  • Modern advances in medicine and technology have given us the tools to begin shifting our focus from illness to wellness. Virtual care programs, like Telehomecare, extend the reach of health professionals and provide ongoing support to patients in their homes. For example, Telehomecare nurses at Osler remotely monitor the health of patients on a daily basis. Each nurse can impact the lives of dozens of patients simultaneously.

These are but a few examples of the work Osler is undertaking to improve the delivery of health care. As the health care landscape continues to shift, we will remain committed to finding innovative approaches to health care that will best serve patients in our community.

Hockey Night for Osler

“Hockey is a unique sport in the sense that you need each and every guy helping each other, and pulling in the same direction, to be successful.”Wayne Gretzky

Today’s guest post is rink-side with Dr. Naveed Mohammad, Osler’s VP of Medical Affairs:

Hockey fans in the Greater Toronto Area are certainly getting their fill these days. With the Toronto Maple Leafs currently in position for a playoff spot and the Olympics coming up in a few weeks, it’s safe to say we’ve been spoiled.

On Wednesday evening, the Powerade Centre in Brampton came alive as the NHL alumni took to the ice and divided themselves among two teams which also included Osler staff, physicians and supporters.  To call the game a nail-biter is an understatement! By the end of the third period the teams led by Darryl Sittler and Paul Coffey were tied at 10 goals apiece. The game ended in a sudden death shootout with Team Sittler winning 1-0.

Many thanks to the NHL legends and our own hockey heroes who lace up each year in support of Osler Foundation!

I also had the opportunity to break out my best Don Cherry impression and talk shop with Darryl Sittler.

Hockey and health care actually have a lot in common. As we heard from Darryl Sittler, good communication is an important part of creating a winning team on and off the ice. When we pair it with strong hospital leadership and diverse talents of physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and volunteers, we create an ideal environment to deliver excellent patient care. We can achieve great things when we work together.

From sponsors and donors to Osler and Foundation staff, physicians and volunteers, your efforts are appreciated in bringing this game together. Over 1,200 tickets were sold and more than $72,000 was raised for Osler Foundation! These funds will support the redevelopment of Peel Memorial and Etobicoke General Hospital, and fund the next generation of diagnostic equipment and technology at Brampton Civic Hospital.

Relive the excitement or see it for the first time – check out photo highlights from Wednesday night!

The holiday surge

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”General George S. Patton

Happy New Year! Between the pre-holiday ice storm and a lingering deep freeze, I hope you had an opportunity to stay warm and share some quality time with loved ones over the holiday season.

We’ve seen a lot of action inside our hospitals as the New Year roared in.

Over the last two weeks, we saw an increased number of patients coming to Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General Hospitals. Reduced hours in physician clinics, less availability of community resources, extra stress and activities over the holiday season are some of the many factors that cause the community to rely more heavily on our hospitals.

As one of the busiest EDs in Ontario, Osler saw more than 194,000 patients come through our doors last year. EDs are often the first place patients turn when they are looking for care but we also saw a surge in inpatient activity as a number of patients who began their Osler journey in the ED and were admitted into the acute care units during this time.

Osler staff, physicians and volunteers did an incredible job of providing timely, patient-inspired health care to all patients and their families during this busy time. Spending holiday time supporting the health care needs of the community is the definition of going beyond.

Looking at numbers from last year, we expected to be busier than normal over the holidays so we took a page from General Patton’s playbook to prepare. We started planning early on for this year’s surge to ensure we were well positioned to provide safe, quality health care over the holidays.

While these measures helped to remove some of the pressure, we also relied on you to do your part. Many of you sought information on our website and on Facebook to help you assess your health care options over the holidays so you can get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Please continue to visit our website, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to get the latest information about Osler’s initiatives and ongoing service improvement efforts across Osler.

One night. Two Legends. An amazing achievement for Osler!

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. – Albert Camus, author and philosopher

I recently had the honour of welcoming Canadian music legends Jann Arden and Burton Cummings to Brampton’s Rose Theatre in support of Osler Foundation’s gala benefit concert. And what an amazing evening we had!

Before the concert, Jann Arden graciously met with fans and guests to sign autographs and pose for photos. Onstage, they both were amazing. Jann Arden performed her Juno-award winning hits peppered with her signature wit and humour. With only a piano and his voice, Burton Cummings blew the roof off the theatre with his hits, including The Guess Who classic These Eyes. He had such a wonderful time he told us, backstage, that he would have loved to play longer for the audience!

Both artists took Osler’s message of Going Beyond to heart by donating personal items to the silent auction. Jann Arden created a painting live on stage that sold for $5,000, while Burton Cummings sparked a lively bidding war with his donation of a signed flute he played on The Guess Who hit Undun, which sold for a generous $17,500 bid.

The gala set a new record, raising over $650,000! Congratulations and thank you to the gala committee, the sponsors and of course, the guests who created a memorable evening that will provide tremendous support to Osler’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

We’re ending this year on a high note and this will be my last blog of 2013. While some of us will take time off over the next few weeks, many at Osler will be hard at work providing excellent care to all patients who come through our doors.

Over the holiday season, we often see an increase in patients in the emergency departments (ED). To help us manage during this busy time we’ve posted some important tips to help patients understand their health care options before heading to the ED.

Until the New Year, best wishes for a very happy and healthy holiday season!