Good Monday morning,

1. Highlights on UHN's Essentials

UHN's Essentials are essential to the work we do as a leading academic health sciences centre – hence the name! Read here to learn more. Here are highlights on UHN's Essentials from last week.

Quality and Safety Digital whiteboards temporarily not refreshing – working to resolve issue: The issue started last Thursday across all sites and impacted our ability to manage patient flow and see our lab results. Especially troubling when UHN is already facing intense clinical demand. Many thanks to our clinical colleagues who were quick to create workarounds (calling each other to verify information, setting up separate alerts, etc.) so that care wasn't impacted and nothing was missed. UHN is committed to a quadruple promise of care, research, education and quality of work life though – and I know this issue posed a challenge for the fourth part of that promise. Thanks to UHN Digital who are working quickly to resolve the issue and our clinical colleagues for rising to the occasion. The whiteboards are now back to supporting patient flow and we hope to resolve the lab results and other issues shortly.

Partnerships BlueRock Therapeutics – built on the research of UHN's Gordon Keller and Michael Laflamme – acquired by Bayer in a US $1B deal: This is a great example of how Toronto and UHN are producing high-impact companies and proof that our track record is positioning us for great commercial success. Progress for our work to "Elevate Canada as a world destination for commercialization and discovery" – UHN's fifth Strategic Priority! We have a long legacy of discovery in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine dating back to the discovery of blood-forming stem cells by James Till and Ernest McCulloch more than 50 years ago at UHN. Gordon and Michael's work builds on this legacy and was made possible through the major philanthropic support of Rob and Cheryl McEwen, Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, and external granting agencies. BlueRock is currently a major supporter of research at our McEwen Stem Cell Institute. See the official BlueRock release here. In addition to enabling BlueRock to rise to the next level, the hope is that the cell therapies they develop will improve lives for patients everywhere.

People and Culture Remembering Wiktoria Makuchowska, one of our nursing colleagues and treasured member of TeamUHN: It brought me great sadness to learn about Wiktoria's passing. She was a registered nurse in our MSICU (medical surgical intensive care unit) at Toronto General. For the people who had the privilege of knowing Wiktoria, I hope that the coming weeks are made more bearable by the memories you have of her. For everyone else, I hope we make an extra effort this week to remember what's truly important. To learn more about the profound impact that Wiktoria had on patients and her colleagues, please read this UHN News tribute.

2. What we discussed at our Executive Leadership Forum meeting

Here is what we discussed at last week's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) meeting. See who attends these meetings on

  • Preparing for UHN's Accreditation visit – Sept. 16 to 20 (Judy Costello, Senior Clinical Director – Malignant Hematology, Blood Disorder Program at Toronto General, Supportive Care; Pam Breese, UHN Patient Partner): In September, I'll be presenting to the Accreditation surveyors and providing an overview of UHN. This is part of the Accreditation process, which helps ensure we're meeting all standards required of a high-performing hospital. After I present, the surveyors will have the opportunity to ask questions – so we did a practice run in preparation with ELF. Thanks to Judy who joined the meeting as our "mock" surveyor and UHN Patient Partner Pam Breese, who brought the patient and family caregiver voice to the issues discussed and helped answer Judy's questions alongside members of ELF. Very important to have the voice of those we're privileged to serve at the table. Pam will be attending the official presentation this fall.
  • Identity management and onboarding (Diana Elder, Executive Director – Human Resources): Many members of TeamUHN have found it challenging to memorize their multiple user IDs and passwords – myself included! I remember picking up the phone when I first started at UHN to ask one of our Digital colleagues why we have different identifiers (and think I may have given that person a shock when I said "Kevin Smith here"). Of course, there are always historical reasons for why things are the way they are. Important we approach people with an open mind and not assume we have the answers. That said, our clinical transformation journey and upcoming Health Information System (HIS) have given us the opportunity to change this. Thanks to Diana and the Identity Management team for putting together a recommendation for next steps, which includes establishing a common unique identifier for TeamUHN – and most importantly, one that encompasses all members including physicians and learners in a secure, efficient and user-friendly way. The devil will be in a smooth and simple implementation!

    Q1 scorecard results (Matthew Kelsey, Manager – Corporate Planning): 5 gains, 7 stalls, 6 losses in performance. To learn more about our performance, please see UHN's 2019/20 scorecard here. We discussed the strategies we have in place that should help us meet our targets for certain indicators:

    • Surgical Site Infection rate (Toronto Western) higher than targeted.
    • Performance against UHN's approved budget and forecast – we must bring our costs back in-line with the budget while doing our best for patients.
    • Patient Experience: "Did you have enough information from the hospital staff about what to do if you were worried about your condition or treatment after you left the hospital?" I'd value your feedback – does your program have an electronic or print package for every patient who is discharged?
    • Alternative Level of Care (ALC) rate is climbing
    • Deferred Maintenance renewal due to some recent labour strikes
    • Proportion of industry-sponsored clinical trial agreements completed within 90 days is still not where we all want it.

    Gains include:

    • Actual length of hospital stay compared to expected length of stay
    • Surgical Site Infection rate (Princess Margaret)
    • Same-day surgical cancellation rate
    • System-wide EPR (electronic patient record) downtime hours
    • Number of WSIB-reported workplace incidents that required healthcare and lost time
  • TeamUHN engagement update (Venita Indeway, Director – Organization & Employee Development): Venita touched base with ELF about the ongoing efforts to boost TeamUHN engagement. Our meeting was running overtime so Venita has graciously agreed to return to ELF in September, where she will have dedicated time to present on some findings.

3. Human Resources (HR) Committee of the Board meeting

We also had a meeting of the HR Committee of the Board last week. This important committee is chaired by Dean Connor and the agenda focussed on talent development and succession planning. Many of our Board members, working in the private sector, are keen to see healthcare move ahead in talent management and training to ensure our workforce is ready to shape and lead in the future. We had a very good discussion with Board Members.

Have a good week,


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