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.


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.

New funding will help Etobicoke General will bring care closer to home

Etobicoke General Hospital is busy on the best of days and when special guests stop by, the pace picks up even more.

On Monday the Honourable Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, visited Etobicoke General with local MPPs Yvan Baker (MPP Etobicoke-Centre) and Peter Milczyn (MPP Etobicoke-Lakeshore) to make an important announcement about expanded health care services in our community.

Osler will receive funding for a new satellite dialysis centre at Etobicoke General. This means great things for the community. Not only will Osler be able to offer access to 36 new dialysis stations for life-sustaining treatments and patient training for at-home dialysis, it will also enable us to provide care closer to home for patients living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

While the satellite dialysis centre will be operated at Etobicoke General, it will be jointly used by Osler and our partners at Humber River Hospital. This new partnership will help put people and patients first while relieving pressure on existing kidney care programs at Osler and Humber River Hospital.

We heard first-hand how this announcement will change the way we provide access to care for patients like Robert Johnstone, who travels from his home in Etobicoke to Brampton Civic Hospital three times a week for dialysis. By receiving treatment closer to home, Robert and his wife Linda will spend significantly less time travelling between appointments, experience less stress and have a better quality of life.

Osler is the Regional CKD Program for the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), one of 26 Regional CKD programs in Ontario. With more than 72,000 visits to Osler’s renal clinic in 2013-14 alone, we are one of the fastest growing regional programs and this distinction, coupled with new funding from the province, reinforces our position as a health care leader for kidney care in Ontario.

The satellite dialysis centre will occupy 27,000 square feet of a new Ancillary Services Building, which is the part of first phase of the renewal and expansion of Etobicoke General. While the opening of the facility is still a few years away, this commitment from the province is a clear indication of its continued support that will help shape the future of the hospital and the community it serves.

While it may not feel like spring just yet, we welcomed it with open arms at our Holi Gala on Friday evening in support of Osler Foundation. All 750 guests enjoyed spectacular musical and dance performances, feasted on flavourful Indian dishes, and rubbed elbows with special guests. Thanks to you we raised more than $160,000, which will be generously matched dollar-for-dollar by Orlando Corporation as part of its $15 Million Matching Challenge to support the redevelopment projects at Osler’s three hospitals.

Relive the excitement, or see it for the first time, by checking out our photo gallery from Friday night!

The Power of Three

There is a principle called the “rule of three” that authors and film-makers often use because it just makes things seem funnier, more satisfying, and more effective than other numbers do. Think of the Three Musketeers or Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I believe there is strength in numbers, which is one reason partnership has become a central focus at Osler.

Last summer, we made a ground breaking announcement that will change the way health care is delivered in the Central West region for the better. Osler joined forces with our partners at Headwaters Health Care Centre (Headwaters) and the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CW CCAC) to integrate our non-clinical functions across all three organizations.

Through this partnership we’re putting patients and families first by finding new and better ways of working together to create an integrated, patient-centric health care system that is easier for people to access, understand, and navigate.

Over the coming year, we will focus on a number of initiatives that will help to link care received in the community and acute health care services provided in a hospital setting. Here are three examples of how we will make it a reality:

Put patients at the centre of their care

By listening to patients we understand that satisfaction is largely based on their experience of how service is delivered, rather than the technical aspects of the medical care they receive. Our goal is to put patients in the Central West region first by providing better care and creating a seamless experience for them as they move throughout the health care system.

To do this, we’re collectively hiring a Chief Patient Experience Officer (CPEO) to work with all three organizations to ensure the patient is at the heart of everything we do and support our collective focus on being leaders and innovators in the area of patient experience.

Improve options for end-of-life care

Together, we’ve identified a strong need for coordinated, individualized and respectful Palliative Care in our region. Through a Joint Palliative Pledge we will commit to transforming and dramatically improving the patient experience for those living with life-limiting illnesses.

Today, the majority of patients die in hospital but most wish to die at home. By taking action together, we can change the way we collectively support patients and families – and enhance the quality of living and dying – by emphasizing respect, dignity and compassion as we support them through this journey.

Take a regional approach to planning

The Central West region is one of the most diverse and fastest-growing in the province, and our organizations share similar challenges. One of the many ways we are working together is illustrated in our regional approach to planning, which supports the delivery of quality, timely health care services.

For the first time, our organizations have begun the process of creating a joint business plan that will build upon our collective accomplishments to further drive us toward achieving our strategic goals. We will also focus on developing strategies and creating innovative solutions to so that we can best serve the patients in our communities.

Shifting from traditional thinking, breaking down barriers, and considering more unconventional methods of collaboration is taking our partnership to a whole other level. While it is still early days, the impact of the changes derive real benefits for the patients we serve.

The sky is the limit for redevelopment at Osler

This week’s guest blogger is Ann Ford, Joint VP, Facilities and Redevelopment.

Osler’s transformative journey started with one question: how do we improve patient care in our community? While there are many answers, the expansion and revitalization of our three hospitals was near the top of the list. After years of planning, Osler’s renewal is quickly becoming a reality.

We’ve reached another exciting milestone at Etobicoke General Hospital with the announcement of the three teams we’ve chosen as potential candidates to design, build, finance and maintain the hospital’s new four-storey wing. This brings us one step closer to completion on a new, state-of-the-art wing that is set to transform Etobicoke General.

This selection process is the same as the one we used to determine the construction team for the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness as each of the short-listed teams include a developer, design/builder, finance group, and a facility maintenance provider. I am pleased to announce the short-listed teams: EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare, Etobicoke Healthcare Partnership, and Plenary Health.

These three teams will be invited to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) that is expected to be issued in the coming months. In the meantime, we will be preparing the existing building and systems for the new addition with a series of Early Works projects while we start planning for the construction of a new Ancillary Services Building (ASB) that will house a number of outpatient programs and services.

As Peel Memorial continues to rise from the ground, we are finalizing the requirements for our patient care spaces. Full scale mock ups of clinical spaces – complete with all equipment and finishes – have been created to give staff the opportunity to test out functionality and flow before construction takes place. Staff from a number of departments have already viewed and provided feedback on these spaces, which has resulted in changes that will be applied to the final design.

Over the next year we will open the doors to Osler staff, physicians, our patient advisors and potential donors so they can get a glimpse of what the new Peel Memorial will look like.

Over at Brampton Civic Hospital, we are continuing to renew and refresh our clinical areas as we plan for the future. Some programs currently located at Brampton Civic will move to Peel Memorial when it opens and our redevelopment team is working hard to determine the best use for those spaces.

As we continue to transform all three of our sites, I look forward to sharing exciting news about our progress as it happens!

How to be a Community Leader in 3 Easy Steps

Recently, I had the great pleasure of speaking to more than 200 guests at the State of the City luncheon hosted by the Brampton Board of Trade. I was honoured to join Mayor Linda Jeffrey and Peel Region Police Chief Jennifer Evans as we gave an economic update to the business community.

Our collective presentations provided a good indicator of challenges and opportunities facing the city and our region. While there were a lot of wonderful insights shared during the luncheon, one of the main takeaways from the meeting came from Mayor Jeffrey: “We have all the right ingredients for long-term success.”

Osler is an essential part of that recipe for success and there are three things that we can do as leaders to help build a sustainable health care system now and for the future.

  1. Don’t fear change, embrace it.

Change was one of the biggest themes of the day and in the coming years, we can expect a lot of it. As I walk around the units of Osler hospitals I can see the early signs of change in the types of patients who come to us for care. Here is a snapshot of how the demographics of our region have changed, and how they will continue to change, over the next decade:


These numbers mean that we need to change the way we deliver health care in our community in order to create a sustainable health care system that can support the increasing demands for chronic and acute health care. Osler is meeting these challenges by shifting our clinical priorities to accommodate the changing needs of the communities we serve.

We are also placing a tremendous amount of energy renewing and redeveloping our spaces at Peel Memorial and Etobicoke General so we can provide high-quality care now and well into the future.

  1. There’s no “I” in team.

If two heads are better than one when generating new ideas, three heads are definitely better than two. Earlier this year, we formalized a bold new strategic partnership with the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Headwaters Health Care Centre (Headwaters). This regional approach to health care planning is designed to put patients and families first by strengthening the system and finding new and better ways of working together.

It’s a first in the province of Ontario and others will be looking to us as leaders, setting the example of how to collectively strengthen the delivery of health care across our region. Aligning our resources will allow us to:

  • Promote further collaboration;
  • Identify joint investment opportunities;
  • Navigate system-level planning; and,
  • Improve our combined ability to meet the health care needs of our community.

Relying on the expertise of our partners builds a stronger bond and creates a more efficient way of operating in a challenging environment.

  1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

You’ve likely heard the adage “slow and steady wins the race.” I agree that a thoughtful and well-paced approach to change is the best way to achieve success in health care. The only difference is that the race never truly ends, we just keep adapting to new realities as they appear.

When faced with significant change Osler has reacted with a measured approach. We have started to lay the groundwork for a strategic shift from avoidable emergency visits and unscheduled patient admissions to scheduled outpatient appointments. Our five-year Strategic Plan continues to serve as the roadmap for how we will evolve health care in our community to achieve our Vision to deliver patient-inspired health care without boundaries.

What does it mean to “live the vision” at Osler?

As the CEO of one of Ontario’s largest community hospital systems, it’s important for me to have a 30,000 foot view of everything that goes on at Osler. However, as we continuously work to enhance the patient experience at Osler, I’ve been focussing on establishing a deeper, more direct connection with the patients and families that we serve.

Our Vision to provide patient-inspired health care without boundaries is at the heart of everything we do at Osler. It’s the inspiration behind Living the Vision, a new initiative that gives me the very rewarding opportunity to meet and to get to know some of the patients that come to Osler for care.

Living the Vision is an opportunity to learn more about our patients as people rather than focusing on the reasons for their stay at Osler. Each month I’m invited to visit a clinical unit to meet with patients and families. It is a way to really connect with those we serve so we can better understand the needs of our community.

It is also an opportunity to learn. I gain valuable insight into how we are meeting the needs of patients and families, and hear first-hand about all of the great work that is going on in the organization. At the end of each visit I always debrief with the staff to share what was heard and discuss any learnings that can help to improve the patient experience.

When patients come to a hospital for care, they aren’t often at their best. I’ve seen how a quick conversation and a simple “how are you doing today?” can immediately brighten their outlook. These small moments of kindness are what people remember most and have the power to change their health care experience.

I hear a lot of stories during my visits, but there is a common thread that runs through each and every one: the wonderful care they are receiving at Osler. It is truly inspiring to see the first-hand impact that our staff, physicians and volunteers have on the experience of patients and families.

Now that you know how I do it, how are you Living the Vision at Osler?