Celebrating 100 blog posts (and counting)

I can’t believe that this is my 100th blog post to the community! Over the last 3.5 years I’ve had the privilege of sharing some of Osler’s most remarkable moments with you.

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From the launch of our Strategic Plan to showcasing clinical innovations to highlighting our work with health system partners, we’ve had quite the ride and we can only go further from here. While we’ve touched on a number of topics over the years, a few have struck a real chord with readers. Here’s a little flashback to some of the posts that have resonated most with you:

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on the amazing work done by Osler’s staff, physicians and volunteers every single day. I take great pride in sharing these achievements with you and challenging some of the traditional thinking around the delivery of health care in the community.

I’m not the only one who thinks we have a lot to share. On the heels of another busy holiday surge, a crew from CBC recently visited the emergency department (ED) at Brampton Civic to showcase our facility while exploring alternative care options for non-critical patients at Urgent Care Centres in the community.

As one of the busiest EDs in Canada, our teams are constantly working provide patient-inspired care to a high volume of patients in a fast-paced environment while making changes to improve the experience for everyone who receives or provides care.

  • Nurse Practitioners in acute areas of the ED and the addition of more physician hours are helping us to better manage patient volumes, reduce wait times and shorten length of stay.
  • With our community partners at Peel Regional Police, Osler is working to decrease offload times and transfer of accountability for Mental Health patients in the ED so officers can return to the community faster.
  • Displaying wait times at nursing stations in the Ambulatory Treatment Centres (ATC) is helping to improve collaboration and problem solving around patient flow.
  • Our new ED Patient Experience Team is a dedicated resource that offers comfort and enhanced communications to patients, families and visitors waiting for treatment.

While we continue to make improvements to the programs and services provided at Osler, we are looking forward to the opening of Peel Memorial in the not too distant future. This new facility will provide even more care options, including an Urgent Care Centre, for the Brampton community.

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What Osler’s Mission, Vision and Values Means to Me

Every month, I have the opportunity to meet with frontline staff for an informal chat and a light meal as part of my Lunch with the President series. This gives me a chance to hear what’s on the minds of staff first-hand while they get to ask me about whatever they want – carte blanche.

And no question is off the table. I’ve been asked about everything from my age to my favourite colour and everything in between. I often get a question that really makes me stop and think. At a recent session, one of the attendees asked what was most important to me – Osler’s Mission, Vision or Values.

Choosing which one resonates more than another is like choosing a favourite child – it’s impossible! But it did get me thinking about what each of these core statements means to me.

Mission: Innovative health care delivered with compassion

Osler’s Mission is a constant reminder that while health care is fluid and dynamic, compassionate patient care remains at the heart of everything we do. A key element of our Strategic Plan is to ensure that patients receive the right care, in the right place, from the right provider and, that care is delivered with compassion and empathy. We need to think beyond the traditional models of health care delivery toward innovation, which will play a critical role in changing health care for the better.

We’ve already begun to bring innovation into our programs and services. Our successful Telehomecare Program is helping patients with COPD and Heart Failure take charge of their health using technology while our hybrid endovascular surgery is providing world-class care closer to home. Along with these technological advances, we’re delivering compassionate care through initiatives like our palliative outpatient clinics that support patients as they manage their symptoms and we’re helping new comers to Canada gain access to and an understanding of health care services with settlement counsellors at each site.

And through innovative administrative partnerships with the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Headwaters Health Care Centre (Headwaters), we’ve taken a collaborative approach to planning to better support the delivery of quality, timely health care services across the regional health care system.

Vision: Patient-inspired health care without boundaries

These six words influence everything we do at Osler. Our Vision puts the patient experience front and centre of every care episode and I’m so pleased to see Osler staff, physicians and volunteers take this to heart every day.

As we continue to move toward a system where we see fewer unplanned hospital visits and more scheduled care, our partnerships with the Central West CCAC and Headwaters – as well as health care providers in the community – will become even more important. More seamless access to scheduled health care services throughout the region will help make sure patients receive the right care, in the right place, from the right provider.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the experience of an orthopaedic patient who attended her daughter’s Caribbean wedding by Skype from her hospital bed at Etobicoke General. The teams involved in orchestrating this experience took our promise of “going beyond” to a whole new level in a compassionate and meaningful way for this patient and her family.

Our Global Health team visited India earlier this year to see how we could share knowledge

Our Vision also means looking outside our local health care system. We’ve already begun to seek out new opportunities through our Global Health Program, which is exploring ways we can improve health care abroad as well as in our local community. Our Research Program will also help us to innovate as we uncover new patient-centred models of care that we can establish at Osler.

Values: Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Diversity, Innovation

Osler’s Values are woven into the fabric of our organization and I see the affect they have every single day. Our commitment to providing excellent patient care, respecting the dignity of everyone who touches our organization and being accountable to ourselves, our patients and our community create a positive environment that allows us to thrive. And by embracing diversity, we are able to bring new perspectives to the delivery of health care that help to drive innovation at all levels.

I believe that the combined strength of our Mission, Vision and Values – and the way that they are lived by everyone at Osler – is critical to our success now and in the future. It makes me proud to be part of such an amazing organization

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:

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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.

Summer slowdown at Osler? Not a chance!

Summer is a time when life slows down. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and we take a little more time to relax and recharge. I even managed to spend some time away with my family. While many of us took advantage of the slower months, things certainly didn’t slow down across the hospital.

Over the last three months more than 109,200 patients came to Osler for emergency treatment, day surgery, diagnostic imaging tests and inpatient care. That amounts to an additional 3,600 patient visits over the same period last year. And as Osler staff continued to provide excellent patient care during a busier than normal summer, we reached a number of amazing milestones.

In case you missed it, here are the Top 5 things that happened at Osler this summer.

  1. Renewal and expansion projects start to take shape. Construction on the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness is now underway! We celebrated this exciting milestone and announced the contract signing by Plenary Health. At Brampton Civic, we took great care to rejuvenate hospital grounds by replacing trees and plants that were damaged during last winter’s ice storm.

    We also continue to make improvements at Etobicoke General with a number of infrastructure projects underway and to work with staff and physicians on preparing for the large scale renovation and expansion at the site. This fall, we will take the next step in the process and short-list construction companies to build the four-storey wing.

  2. Support ramps up for Osler Foundation. Local golfers hit the fairways in support of Osler Foundation’s two annual Osler Open golf tournaments, selling out both events and breaking fundraising records. At the Brampton Invitational, more than $162,000 was raised for Brampton Civic and Peel Memorial while the Etobicoke Invitational raised more than $105,000 for renewal and expansion projects at the hospital. Community support grew with a number of donations including $50,000 from LiUNA Local 506, which showed their support for Peel Memorial during their annual bocce ball tournament.
  3. New partnership focuses on better patient care. Osler, the Central West CCAC, and Headwaters have integrated ‘back-office’ non-clinical support functions to better serve patients and families in our region. This partnership is a first for the province of Ontario and is a step toward our shared vision of a more integrated, patient-centric health care system.
  4. Osler’s smallest patients become super heroes at Brampton Civic. As of July 7, new moms are able to donate their babies’ umbilical cord blood at Brampton Civic for stem cell treatments. Donations will help to build a national public cord blood bank.
  5. Taking health care beyond our community with our new Global Health Program. We announced an exciting new Global Health Program that will open doors for us to learn from, and contribute to, the homelands of the patients that we serve. As we determine the countries or disciplines Osler may focus our efforts, we are enthusiastic about the possibility of making a difference at in our local community and beyond our borders

While not on the list, I can’t forget to mention my participation in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As health care providers, it’s important for us to support the efforts of organizations that contribute to important clinical research so that one day their discoveries may be used to help patients in the communities we serve.

It’s been a great summer and we have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

“Progress is not enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” – Kahlil Gibran, author and poet

Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time planning for Osler’s future. Not only have we developed new Strategic and Clinical Priorities Plans to guide how we will deliver health care programs and services in the community, we have also given careful thought to where this care will be provided.

We have made tremendous progress in setting the stage for the revitalization and expansion of our hospitals and now we’re ready to celebrate one of the biggest milestones to date.

Construction on the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness is set to begin this summer! This achievement was made possible by the extraordinary support of the community, a strong commitment from our government and municipal partners and the dedication of Osler’s staff, physicians and volunteers.

You are invited to be part of this momentous event in Peel Memorial’s redevelopment journey. On Wednesday, June 25 we will be hosting a special public event to celebrate our progress on the site of the new Peel Memorial. We expect a number of dignitaries, as well as government officials and community members to attend the event.

We will recognize Osler’s achievements and accomplishments from the past year as part of our Annual General Meeting, celebrate the progress made in revitalizing the new Peel Memorial, and recognize the vision and support of a community that helped to bring a second state-of-the-art hospital to Brampton and the surrounding area.

We are also looking forward to hosting a small Health and Wellness Fair during the event. Staff from across the organization will be manning booths to help raise awareness of some of the programs and services offered at Peel Memorial. Stop by the Diabetes Education booth to try a healthy smoothie, test your balance with Wii Fit at the Physiotherapy booth and get your blood pressure checked by Osler’s Geriatric Outreach team!

We’re also moving full steam ahead on our plans to renovate and expand Etobicoke General Hospital. It was a full house at last week’s Town Hall meeting where staff, physicians and volunteers learned more about the projects currently underway and work that will be undertaken over the next 12 to 24 months to prepare Etobicoke General for the addition of the new four-storey wing and the eventual full-scale redevelopment of the site.

Our plans for the future are ambitious and I have no doubt that with the continued support of our Osler family, community and government partners, we will be celebrating many more milestones in the years ahead.

“Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not.” – John C. Maxwell, author

While we haven’t quite turned the corner on the winter weather, spring is definitely in the air at Osler. And with the new season comes a renewed sense of focus as we look toward the future of health care in our region, driven by our Strategic Plan and the refreshed Clinical Priorities Plan (CPP).

A key part of our new CPP is to focus on expanding patient care in areas where we have high demand and to find new ways to better meet the needs of the patients in the communities we serve. In the coming months a number of new programs and services will open at Osler to improve access to specialized health care services, including:

  • Osler’s highly anticipated Musculoskeletal (MSK) Program and MSK Centre of Excellence, which will launch in late spring. Care will take place at both sites with surgeries for upper joints being housed at Etobicoke General while all lower joints will be addressed at Brampton Civic.
  • We will continue to build our Women’s Health Program by introducing a new Breast Program at Etobicoke General that features a surgical oncology procedure where mastectomy and reconstructive procedures are performed in the same surgery to minimize discomfort and recovery time for patients.
  • The newly-opened Post Acute Short Stay Unit (PASSU) at Etobicoke General uses a “home first” philosophy to help medically frail patients reach their peak functional ability so they can move to their discharge destination – whether it is to their home, into transitional care or to a long-term care facility.

These changes support innovative delivery models, improved quality and increased efficiency within our local health care system and beyond. Embracing bold, practice-leading ideas will help us achieve our Vision to provide patient-inspired health care without boundaries.

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

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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.