Good morning, TeamUHN!

It is a pleasure to connect with you across care, research, and education through this weekly CEO update – all in service of A Healthier World. 

Key reminders and updates

  • Good news regarding COVID-19 outbreaks at UHN: The outbreak on 7 South at Toronto Rehab – University Centre was declared over on Nov. 6. The outbreak on 8A/8B Fell at Toronto Western was declared over on Oct. 31. Our deepest thanks to everyone involved in the swift and professional response. Outbreak information is updated daily on
  • Remembrance Day 2020 on Nov. 11 – Virtual Ceremony will be held for UHN: "In Flanders Fields" will be read via overhead announcement across UHN sites followed by a virtual ceremony held via livestream at 11:00 a.m.
  • Nominate your colleagues for UHN's 2020 Local Impact Awards: Learn about the categories this year and submit your nomination by Nov. 30. (SurveyMonkey form here // Learn more via "Corporate Intranet > Right side bar navigation > Nominate your colleagues…")
  • UHN's Research Report 2020 is here: Read about the research and advancements we are delivering across cancer, heart disease, neuroscience, rheumatology, rehabilitation, transplant and beyond. Thanks to the talented researchers and research staff, in addition to the University of Toronto and our remarkable donor community, for making all of this great work a reality.

Overview of last week

1. Kicked off Clinical Transformation at UHN – we are branding it "Synapse" because it's the spark that activates and connects us   

  • Background: Clinical Transformation at UHN is a multi-year strategic initiative that puts the needs of patients first. This transformation will be supercharged by a new Health Information System (HIS) from Epic – which we are now calling "Synapse" – and advance the way we approach and deliver care, research and education. The target go-live date is May 2022.
  • What happened last week? Gillian Howard (Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications) and I hosted a virtual event to officially kick off Clinical Transformation. We were joined by Barry Rubin and Terri Stuart-McEwan (Co-Chairs, Clinical Transformation Steering Committee), Sarah Muttitt, Anil Chopra, and Joy Richards (Executive Sponsors), Mark Selick (Patient Partner) and many other colleagues.
  • What do I need to know? The patient journey at UHN is currently scattered across multiple hybrid information systems, which presents risk to patients and compromises providers and scholarship. When I first came to UHN and toured the sites and programs, the number one thing I heard from all of you is that we need a new HIS. Clinical Transformation is our response to this request and will touch practically every aspect of our work. We cannot defer this work – we must either invest in the foundation we need now, or invest significant amounts in applying temporary patches so that our existing systems can function for a short while. Having a shared understanding of the goals and processes, along with the language and expectations, will improve our shared future. Visit the Synapse internal website to access a recording of the virtual launch, FAQs, information about the team and technology, and upcoming Information Sessions. The Information Sessions will help you gain familiarity with Synapse.

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. See the full membership on The last ELF meeting was held on Nov. 5, 2020.


Q2 Financial Results Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: We are reporting a $4.5M consolidated deficit as of Q2 (time period of six months ending Sept. 30, 2020). This deficit was calculated under the assumption that we will be reimbursed for all COVID-related costs by the Ministry of Health and Government of Canada. In total, we have submitted $176M worth of claims for our COVID-related expenses. We also continue to manage non-COVID related factors that are driving our deficit. 
  • Who presented? Darlene Dasent (Chief Financial Officer), Kelly Enair (Deputy Chief Financial Officer), and Ivan Lara (Senior Director, Finance – Clinical Programs).
  • What do I need to know? Next week, we are bringing our Q2 Financial Update to the Finance & Audit Committee of the Board. We will be seeking their support in principle for our plan to achieve a balanced budget – which was created thanks to the work of many colleagues and program leads. Our biggest risks are that we are still waiting for reimbursement on a significant amount of COVID-related funding – we have received $64M of the $176M thus far – and are also managing increasing volume pressures.


Cyber Security Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Healthcare organizations and research facilities are being targeted by cyber criminals and this trend has increased during the pandemic. Last year, nearly half of all Canadian cyber data breaches were against healthcare institutions. The impacts of cyber attacks on patient care delivery can be significant. In October 2019, Michael Garron Hospital fell victim to a ransomware attack resulting in cancelled surgeries and patient re-location.
  • Who presented? Kashif Parvaiz (Chief Information Security Officer) and Sarah Muttitt (Chief Technology Officer).
  • What do I need to know? Nearly all cyber attacks start with a phishing email. The good news is that cyber security awareness within TeamUHN is improving as employees are getting progressively better at avoiding phishing emails. We need your help more than ever!  Please carefully consider if you know the sender and don't open any attachments unless you are confident they're safe. When in doubt, contact UHN Digital. They have several security initiatives underway to further reduce the likelihood of an attack. This includes securing patient care computing devices, improving emergency response procedures, and prioritizing the emergence of our new HIS, Synapse, to mitigate our biggest cyber security risk – aging infrastructure. The cyber security action plan will be brought to the Finance & Audit Committee of the Board next week.

Accreditation – Preparing for the Dec. 2021 Survey

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Accreditation is the process where an organization's services are assessed by external surveyors against best practice standards. Accreditation gives us valuable feedback on what we are doing well and where there are opportunities for improvement. UHN's last Accreditation survey was in Sept. 2019. It included clinical programs in Princess Margaret, Toronto Rehab, and Toronto Western Family Health Team, as well as corporate programs and governance.
  • Who presented? Elisa Chimonides (Manager, Accreditation and Partnerships) and Emily Musing (Chief Patient Safety Officer).
  • What do I need to know? UHN's next Accreditation survey will be in December 2021. ELF endorsed the Accreditation Governance Structure and Preparation Plan. The Accreditation and Clinical Transformation teams are working in partnership so we can minimize the stress of competing priorities and avoid scheduling major milestones around the same time.

KPMG Internal Audit Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: KPMG performs an ongoing internal audit of UHN to ensure we are operating as effectively as possible. The 2020/21 audit is on track and will be presented to the Finance & Audit Committee of the Board in February 2021.
  • Who presented? Libby Duckworth (KPMG) and Nick Rolfe (KPMG).
  • What do I need to know? KPMG added some additional reviews to their audit in light of COVID-19, including our response to supply chain risk. We received a "Significant Assurance" rating (i.e. the highest rating) thanks to our colleagues in Procurement and the leadership of Hugh Amiel (Director, Procurement) and Rebecca Repa (Executive Vice President, Clinical Support and Performance). They were recognized for effectively ramping up our supply chain operations to meet UHN's needs – as well as the needs of the Ministry of Health – during the pandemic.


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Have a good week,


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