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

  • Today on Nov. 2 at 12:00 p.m. – We kick off our Clinical Transformation journey at UHN! Livestream here (Chrome/Firefox).
  • Tomorrow on Nov. 3 at 12:00 p.m. – Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19. Read answers to FAQs here – updated regularly. (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Virtual Open Forum (top right box) > Open Forum FAQ). Submit new questions here or enter #UHNCOVID-19x31 on Slido.com. Livestream here (Chrome/Firefox).  
  • Remembrance Day 2020 on Nov. 11 – Virtual Ceremony will be held for UHN: You will receive a calendar invite containing all the details later today. “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.
  • Last chance – get your flu vaccine at UHN before our campaign wraps up on Nov. 6. Schedule an appointment with Occupational Health. If you are over the age of 65 and require the high-dose vaccine, email OHSmailbox@uhn.ca. There are still a few spots available for managers to book a flu cart to visit their unit (email Heather.Pattenden@uhn.ca). Learn more via UHN News. To get your flu vaccine after Nov. 6, please go to your local pharmacy or healthcare provider – and then send proof of your vaccination (your date of birth, date of vaccination and provider) to OHSmailbox@uhn.ca. For a full list of pharmacies that offer the flu vaccine, check myflushot.ca and Toronto Public Health.

Overview of last week

1. Q2 CEO/CFO Budget meetings  

  • Background: The financial pressures across the health system continue. UHN’s pandemic impacts are compounded by operational pressures as we continue to ramp up clinical activity. We are feeling the negative consequences of aging cyber and physical infrastructures at an exponential rate – meaning large scale investments in our Clinical Transformation journey and Master Facilities Plan cannot be deferred.
  • What happened last week? Darlene Dasent (Chief Financial Officer), Ivan Lara (Senior Director, Finance – Clinical Programs), Michael Caesar (Executive Director, Data & Implementation Science) and I met with various clinical programs and departments to discuss Q2 performance. We meet quarterly to discuss the plans for addressing projected deficits.  
  • What do I need to know? There are many examples of the actions we are taking to achieve much-needed savings, including: Implementing a multi-year strategy for reducing our leased space costs; Benchmarking with peers so we can spot opportunities for improvement more easily; Reducing our ALC (Alternate Level of Care) rate through the creation of a 36-bed Transitional Care Unit at Toronto Rehab’s Bickle site and partnership with Toronto Grace Health Centre; Optimizing our bed flow and case mix. Maintaining a balanced budget will help ensure a sustainable future for UHN. Thanks to all the colleagues who are helping us deliver on this challenging goal.

2. Met with Ontario’s Digital and Data Task Force to discuss digital health

  • Background: Ontario’s Digital and Data Task Force is a provincial-level committee overseen by Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy (Treasury Board) and Minister Lisa Thompson (Ministry of Government and Consumer Services).
  • What happened last week? The Task Force held their first meeting and discussed future directions for digital health across the province. I presented on the opportunity we have in Ontario and the great work happening at UHN.
  • What do I need to know? The silver lining of COVID-19 has been the acceleration of digital health. UHN went from 250 weekly virtual care visits to 7,000 during the peak of the pandemic. We cannot go back on this progress – but must also figure out a path forward. The emergency policies that were put in place for digital health were not designed for sustainability and must be reviewed (e.g. temporary billing codes were put in place but a long-term funding strategy is needed). The good news is we have the building blocks for digital health success in Ontario: UHN and the rest of our peer hospitals, University of Toronto, Vector Institute, incredible donors and industry supporters, and our provincial and federal partners.

3. Quality and Safety Committee of the Board

  • Background: UHN’s Quality and Safety Committee is chaired by Ross Baker (UHN Board Trustee). This Board-level committee reviews the quality of care at UHN and makes recommendations to UHN’s Board of Trustees as required.
  • What happened last week? The committee convened for their regularly scheduled meeting. They discussed COVID-19, root cause analyses of Serious Safety Events, the physician quality structure, and myUHN Patient Portal. 
  • What do I need to know? COVID-19 is a critical risk for the Ontario health system; this topic will be a standing agenda item for this committee for the foreseeable future. As part of our role as an academic health sciences centre, we are looking at the scientific literature as it relates to COVID-19 and its impact on quality and safety. Last week, UHN was at 96% occupancy with no surplus of staff available for redeployment in needed areas such as Occupational Health and Long-Term Care. We are working hard to ensure we have the staffing necessary to keep patients and TeamUHN safe. For example, we are filling all of our budgeted vacancies, and also reducing the need for manually-staffed screening booths to free up those colleagues. We are keeping TeamUHN wellness and quality of work life as a guiding principle. Burnout is associated with a two-fold increase in unsafe care and unprofessional behaviours – so these components go hand-in-hand.

Closing notes

  • COVID-19 outbreaks at UHN: The outbreaks on 8A/8B Fell at Toronto Western and 7S Toronto Rehab – University Centre are in stable condition.
  • Congratulations to FM-PRO (Facilities Management – Planning, Redevelopment and Operations) on completing some major milestones: These include completing the Ground Floor Transformation project at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (part of the overarching Princess Margaret Space Transformation) and completing the transformation of Toronto Rehab’s Bickle site.
  • UHN’s Inventor of the Year and Global Impact Award winners will be announced this month: Selecting the winners was delayed due to the pandemic – but we will be announcing our remarkable 2020 recipients this month. Stay tuned. Recently, we also opened the nomination process for UHN’s Local Impact Awards – nominate a deserving colleague or team here.

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,

Kevin

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