How to use technology to help patients from home

Imagine living with a chronic disease that required you to make frequent visits to the hospital or your family doctor. Now, imagine if your health care team could monitor your health at home. While it may sound futuristic, this is a reality for many Osler patients through our Telemedicine programs.

I love the power of technology and how it can be used to improve our lives and the lives of the patients we serve. I also believe that the delivery of sustainable health care depends on using technology in new and different ways.

In April, I received the Champions of Telemedicine Award from Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). It was humbling to be recognized for supporting the advancement of quality, patient-centred care through technology but much of the credit goes to Osler’s incredible Telemedicine team. These men and women are the true champions who provide patient-inspired health care every single day.

The use of innovative technology has been growing steadily at Osler and across the province. When we launched the Telehomecare Program at Osler two years ago we were one of three regions, and the only community hospital, that were early adopters of this technology. Telehomecare is growing quickly and is now available in seven regions across Ontario.

More than 1,200 patients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Heart Failure have enrolled in the Telehomecare Program delivered by Osler and that number is growing every week. We’ve seen how Telehomecare is making a huge difference in the lives of patients and their families. At Osler, there has been a 76 per cent reduction in hospital admissions and 71 per cent fewer visits to the emergency departments (ED) for patients participating in the Telehomecare Program.

In addition to Telehomecare, we operate a nurse-led Geriatric Telemedicine Program that enables Osler geriatricians to better connect with patients and their health team at long-term care facilities through video-conferencing technology. This program has recently been rolled out to three LTC facilities and we are working to expand this service across the Central West region.

We’re proud to share our success stories and were recently featured in a special supplement on Telemedicine in the Globe and Mail. Haniff Bacchus, a Telehomecare patient living with COPD, shares his experience in the program and how it empowered him to take control of his health. I encourage you to check it out!

Community Engagement, Three Ways

At Osler, we’re always looking for new ways to engage with the communities we serve. Over the next four weeks, we’re inviting people living in the communities we serve to connect with us during three exciting events.

Telephone Town Hall
Monday, May 25, 2015 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

We are hosting our fifth Telephone Town Hall together with our partners.

Events like this help local residents, like you, better understand what each organization does and how we work together to provide health care services in the community. It also gives you a chance to ask questions and offer feedback about your experiences with the health care system in our region.

I invite you to help shape the future of health care in our region by joining the call. We will reach out to thousands of randomly selected households across the region and invite them to join the conversation. Anyone can participate – including staff, physicians and volunteers – simply email your name and phone number to teletownhall@williamoslerhs.ca by May 25 at 4:00 p.m. to register.

We look forward to speaking with you!

Osler Outpatient App Launch with celebrity guest Amber Mac
Tuesday, May 26 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Brampton Civic Atrium

It’s ‘appening again! Osler is launching a new Android app that is set to help patients take charge of their health from hospital to home with their phone.

Celebrate with us as we launch this new app, Osler Outpatient, which was designed and built by Engage, the group of students from the University of Toronto who won our second national student app contest. Give our newest app a try and learn more about how it will help patients and families at Osler.

We’re kicking this launch into high gear as we welcome Amber Mac, tech expert and co-host of BNN’s App Central, as MC and keynote speaker.

It promises to be an exciting event and I look forward to seeing you there!

Osler Annual General Meeting
Monday, June 22, Etobicoke General

Mark your calendars for Osler’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). It’s our chance to celebrate another extraordinary year, recognize some exciting redevelopment and partnership milestones, and hear from dignitaries and special guests about the exciting future for health care in our community. Events on the day will begin at 3 p.m. at Etobicoke General Hospital.

The AGM will be followed by a reception where the entire Osler community can take time to reflect on past achievements and look forward to an exciting future!

Three Cheers for Osler’s Doctors and Nurses!

As one of Osler’s biggest supporters, I take great pride in celebrating the fantastic team of physicians, nurses and health care professionals who go beyond the ordinary to perform extraordinary feats every single day. This month we are embracing the opportunity to highlight the tremendous clinical team we have at Osler.

Say it Loud and Proud: Our Docs Rock

On May 1 we marked Ontario Doctor’s Day, which celebrates the work of the province’s 27,000 physicians. Osler’s doctors work hard to maintain the health of patients and families across our region. As thought leaders and health care champions within the community, Osler’s physicians are helping to evolve the health care system to improve access to care and ensure that our system is effective, efficient and sustainable for the future.

In the coming weeks, we will be celebrating the contributions of Osler physicians with the unveiling of a Physician Wall of Distinction at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General Hospitals. These ceremonies will include the presentation of inaugural Philanthropy Awards from Osler Foundation, which recognize Osler physicians who have gone beyond to support our hospitals.

Osler Nurses: With You Every Step of the Way

Osler will celebrate our incredible nurses during National Nursing Week, May 11 to 17, with a number of activities and events that will take place at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General.

Nurses are often at the forefront of patient care and I believe that Osler’s nurses are second to none. While I may be a little biased, the honours and awards collected by this group makes it clear that I’m not the only one who thinks so:

  • Osler ICU nurses have received BARD Excellence Awards for the past two years
  • Four Osler nurses carry a prestigious designation from the de Souza Institute (and only 11 nurses in Ontario have a de Souza designation!)
  • Individual nurses and nursing teams from across Osler are nominated by their peers each year for Nursing Awards of Excellence

From the front lines to the back office, everyone at Osler appreciates the unwavering dedication of the physicians, nurses and health care professionals who provide patient care to the communities we serve. Beyond your commitment to exceptional patient care, you show just how much you “♥ your hospital” through your steadfast support of Osler Foundation. THANK YOU for all that you do!

Celebrate with Us!

Again this year, we want to hear about your experiences with Osler’s stellar team of health care professionals. Give us a five-star rating on Facebook or send a shout out to someone who made a difference in your care on Twitter using #DocsRock or #NursesRule. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Osler is the Patient Experience

At Osler, we have more than 750,000 patient interactions each year. Each encounter presents an opportunity for us to deliver high-quality, patient-inspired care.

Last week was Patient Experience Week, an annual world-wide event created by our friends at The Beryl Institute. It gave us a chance to celebrate Osler’s accomplishments, reenergize our efforts to put patients and families first, and honour the staff, physicians and volunteers who impact patient experience every day. Our service excellence team visited each of our sites to thank everyone for working so hard to create memorable patient experiences.

There is also a lot going on behind the scenes to support our front lines to deliver great care. From engaging with our Patient Advisory Committees to increasing visibility of our patient relations team in key units to expanding our post-discharge call centre across the Central West region, we are constantly looking for new ways to put patients at the centre of their care.

Earlier this year I wrote about how I’m Living the Vision at Osler. Since that post, this idea has taken off across the organization and when I heard the following story I knew I needed to share it with you.

A patient was recently admitted to the orthopaedic unit at Etobicoke General after falling in the Dominican Republic, where she was preparing to attend her daughter’s wedding. The injury was serious enough that she had to return to Canada for treatment and miss the wedding. We frequently repatriate patients from all over the world, but what happened next is truly remarkable.

The clinical team was so moved by this patient’s story that they rallied to find a way for her to attend the wedding virtually through Skype. An iPad was borrowed from the emergency department and a social worker, with no connection to the patient or program, stayed with the patient to help coordinate the video connection that allowed her to see her daughter get married. Needless to say, the patient’s family was overjoyed that the care team was able to make this happen.

Stories like this make me so proud of Osler’s incredible staff who really take our Vision of providing patient-inspired health care without boundaries to heart.

We also wrapped up another successful Be a Donor month, which Osler celebrated with Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN).

Over the past year, Osler’s successful organ and tissue donation program has helped to save more than 50 lives!

We helped start the conversation about the importance of organ and tissue donation by asking 700 Osler staff, physicians and volunteers to register as donors. Remember, just two minutes can help save up to eight lives.

Taking health global: Osler is headed to India

This week’s guest blog is from Dr. Naveed Mohammad, VP Medical Affairs and Co-Lead of Osler’s Global Health Program

India is a fascinating country. From its rich history and vibrant cultural traditions to its colourful festivals and culinary delights, it’s easy to become captivated. Living and working in the Greater Toronto Area means that we are very fortunate to be able to experience so much of what this culture has to offer without needing to travel too far.

Osler serves one of the fastest growing and most diverse communities in Ontario. According to data collected during the 2011 Census, more than 62 per cent of recent immigrants to Brampton and 42 per cent of immigrants to north Etobicoke are from India. This incredible statistic signals that the dynamics of providing health care need to change to meet unique needs of this growing patient population in the best way possible.

Given the extensive Punjabi community within our region, we decided that this area was the logical starting point for our Global Health Program. After months of extensive planning, a five-member clinical team from Osler will be travelling half way around the world to the Punjab region of India to explore ways we can contribute to the homelands of our local citizens and gather valuable insights on innovative practices that can be used to better meet the needs of our community.

When I was asked to be the clinical lead for the mission to India, I jumped at the opportunity to approach global health in a new way. Osler identified six clinical areas where there is the greatest potential for impact and the tour team was chosen based on these needs. The team includes:

  • David Koczerginski, Corporate Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Mental Health and Addictions
  • Davinder Wadehra, Medical Director of Nephrology (representing chronic disease area)
  • Kelly Falzon, Director of Women’s, Children’s and Seniors Program
  • Gurpreet Rosales, Project Manager and Global Health Program Lead

I’m thrilled to be part of the team headed to India and right now, we are preparing to meet with hospital leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the cities of Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar and surrounding areas to learn more about health care in this region. We will also be visiting hospital-affiliated satellite clinics in rural areas where the team will see first-hand how health care services are delivered, which I imagine will be an extremely rewarding aspect of the trip.

An international mission like this doesn’t happen overnight. We have been carefully planning this tour for the past 18 months under the leadership of Susan deRyk and Gia D’Souza from Osler’s strategy team with strong support of the Global Health Steering Committee, an Advisory Group made up of staff and community members whose feedback has helped shape this experience, and Osler Foundation.

As we journey across Punjab, we will be sharing our experiences along the way. Follow @OslerHealth on Twitter and like our Facebook page for updates from the field. I personally can’t wait to share details about our experience and the exciting partnership opportunities that lie ahead!

A-B-P and Q-I-P: Two other ways to spell “success”

This week’s guest blogger is Joanne Flewwelling, EVP Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive

In an ever-changing health care landscape, how does Osler plan for success? Two key tools are our Annual Business Plan (ABP) and Quality Improvement Plan (QIP), which allows us to take stock of our achievements over the last 12 months and highlight areas where we need to focus our efforts as we chart the course for the year ahead.

Our ABP outlines where we will focus our energy in the coming year as we work toward achieving our five-year Strategic Plan. Over the last 12 months we made tremendous progress in aligning our goals with those of our partners across the region to have a positive influence on the patient experience. Through our Strategic Partnership Committee that explores opportunities to work together and looking at our corporate planning through a regional lens will set us on a road to ensuring patients get the care they need, where and when they need it across our region.

In 2015-16 we will continue to build these good works by focusing on enhancing the patient experience in the ED, creating growth and sustainability opportunities for health care in our community, and supporting the efficient delivery of timely health care services through regional planning.

We can’t look to the future without reflecting on the past year, which was transformational for so many reasons. Our list of achievements is extensive, so here are five key highlights that define our spectacular year:

  1. Together with the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Headwaters Health Care Centre (Headwaters), we created the first regional cross-sector health care partnership in Ontario
  2. We expanded our specialized services with a new Musculoskeletal (MSK) Program and Centre of Excellence, and innovative Breast Program
  3. We increased our surgical capacity at Brampton Civic with a new operating room
  4. We opened outpatient Palliative Care Clinics at both sites to provide better access to services and support that will enable patients to remain in their own homes while receiving care
  5. We made great progress on redevelopments with the start of construction of the new Peel Memorial while planning for the expansion and renewal of Etobicoke General

We also aligned our annual QIP with our partners at the Central West CCAC and Headwaters to collectively improve the quality and safety of health care across the region. There are seven priority indicators in the QIP to measure the quality of health care delivery and every hospital in Ontario works toward “maintaining” or “improving” these targets. Osler staff and physicians worked incredibly hard over the past year to achieve three “maintain” targets:

  1. Our financial performance designated us as a “top performer” by Health Quality Ontario (HQO)
  2. Our number of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) days is below the provincial average
  3. Our rate of C. difficile infections was less than provincial target for the entire year

While there is room for improvement, these benchmarks are a clear sign that we are well-positioned relative to our hospital peers. We will also continue to work with our regional partners to achieve shared targets.

Osler staff and physicians are the driving force behind many of our achievements, but volunteers also play a vital role in shaping the health care experience at Osler. During National Volunteer Week, please join me in celebrating the incredible team of 1,000+ volunteers who go beyond every single day to support patient-inspired health care beyond boundaries at Osler!

For three years running, Osler continues to be a diversity leader

We’ve been waiting for it and it’s here. Spring is in the air and I can’t wait to say “good riddance” to Old Man Winter! One of the things I love most about spring – aside from putting away my snow shovel – is watching my garden come to life. The way that so many different ferns and flowers can thrive together in the same environment reminds me just how wonderful diversity is.

At Osler, we celebrate the diversity of our staff and the community we serve. We take pride in our commitment to meet the individual needs of our patients and foster an organizational culture that upholds dignity and equity for all. After all, diversity is embedded in our values – Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Diversity, and Innovation – and is at the centre of all we do.

diversityaward2015

I am thrilled to announce that Osler has reached another milestone along our diversity journey – we were recently named one of the Best Diversity Employers in Canada for the third year in a row! This honour is bestowed upon organizations who have demonstrated exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs. This achievement is a testament to our unwavering commitment to patient-inspired health care and creating a workplace that truly embraces individuality.

Being located in one of the most diverse regions of Ontario, we believe that one of the best ways to serve our population is to equip our staff with the skills they need to provide patients with a respectful, inclusive, yet individualistic experience. Creating an environment that is welcoming and equitable for all is an important step in achieving this.

Our Global Health Program is an example of our commitment in this area. Later this month, Osler is participating in an exploratory tour to the Punjab region in India, where a small clinical team will meet with several hospitals and non-governmental organizations to better understand how we can partner with local health care providers to create innovative programs that address specific health challenges and explore ways Osler can help achieve health equity in our own local community.

I am very proud of our team at Osler and their tremendous dedication to creating an inclusive workplace for each other and the community we serve.