​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

  • If you have not yet taken the IDEAA Self-Identification and Inclusion Survey from IDEAA, please budget 15 minutes in your calendar to do so this week, before Oct. 26. As you heard at last week's Open Forum, this is an extremely important initiative for the organization to better understand the experiences of TeamUHN members and what we can do to build an even more inclusive and accessible organization. As of this morning, 2,353 TeamUHN members have completed the survey, representing a response rate of 11.4%. Please know that your responses are absolutely confidential and that all should feel comfortable sharing information openly and honestly. Reminder emails from WorkTango will continue to be sent to those who've not yet completed the survey. The survey will close on Oct. 26. Your voice truly does matter. Please share your feedback! Questions? Consult the Survey Toolkit or reach out to your.voice.matters@uhn.ca.

    Survey FAQs:

    • the survey is managed by WorkTango
    • each employee will be emailed a secure link from pulse@worktango.io that will direct them to the survey
      • it's possible the link may land in your spam folder or in the "other" section of your inbox
      • if you cannot find the email with survey link, contact support@worktango.com for help
    • the survey is confidential and private
    • no one at UHN (leaders or Executive) will have access to your identity or comments
    • it takes only 15 minutes to complete
    • you can complete the survey on your phone, computer, or tablet
    • the Libraries and Wellness Centres have computers and offer privacy to complete the survey
    • the survey is for everyone and asks questions about who you are and your experience at work
    • the results from the survey will help UHN understand what is most important to TeamUHN
    • the survey is quick, easy, and safe
  • Congratulations to Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Chief of Innovation at UHN, on his having recently received an honorary fellowship from The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Established more than 500 years ago, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is one of the oldest Colleges of Surgeons in the world. Dr. Keshavjee, who served as Surgeon-in-Chief at UHN for 12 years and is renowned for his breakthroughs with lung transplantation, was awarded an honorary fellowship to the college on Oct. 14, 2022, in Edinburgh Scotland. This unique recognition is the highest award that the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh can bestow and was awarded in recognition of Dr. Keshavjee's achievements in the service of mankind. Congratulations, Shaf!
  • Last week, team members from Epic were onsite for the second round of Post-Live Visits (PLVs). Alongside members of the Synapse team, they rounded to observe workflows in action and conducted meetings with Working Group Co-Chairs to better understand current challenges and future optimization requests. Their visit also included some quick on-the-spot break/fixes. Overall, teams reported major improvements in workflow adaptation as end users get more comfortable and experienced with the system. They also heard great feedback from staff on areas that we can continue to optimize. PLVs are continuing next week in a few other areas, and a third round of PLVs will be scheduled in late February.
  • UHN's 2022 Flu Campaign is in full swing – my thanks to everyone who has taken a moment out of their very busy days to help protect themselves, loved ones, and of course, patients. One question we commonly hear is, "I got the flu shot last year, do I have to get it again this year?" It's an understandable question, seeing that we haven't experienced a typical flu season, as a result of COVID limiting movement and exposure. In UHN's robust Flu FAQs, we explain that it's best to get the vaccine every year to keep yourself healthy. Different influenza viruses circulate every year and immunity from the influenza vaccine decreases over time. Even if there is no significant change in the virus, your body's immunity level declines over several months. The flu campaign is underway until Nov. 3. Book an appointment for a shot here.
  • UHN Connected Care, the Toronto Western Family Health team, and Health Services are working hard to give TeamUHN members access to Pfizer or Moderna bivalent boosters. Connected Care and the Toronto Western Family Health team will again host a clinic for eligible TeamUHN members and their family members including children who are eligible on Tuesday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Oct. 27 from 5-9 p.m. Book an appointment here. Connected Care has also teamed up with Health Services to provide COVID-19 boosters shots for TeamUHN members attending an appointment for the annual flu vaccine. Please note that a booster dose can only be given three months (84 days) after the last dose, with the recommended interval being six months. Those who require only a COVID booster can book through the Toronto Western Family Health team or in the community. Check here for appointments through Health Services for both the flu and COVID booster or just the flu shot. Questions about the bivalent booster? Consult this FAQ As I said at last week's Open Forum, keeping up-to-date with vaccinations is key to preventing illness.
  • UHN has developed an Operations Playbook, which will be in effect for the balance of the fiscal year. It outlines how operational decisions will be made, who will be involved, and the priorities considered in making decisions. These decisions will affect all areas of the hospital in terms of the movement of patients, IPAC guidance for COVID and influenza, temporary bed spacing, and additional patients for units over and above the expected census. In addition, a number of People & Culture strategies are outlined to support recruitment and retention of staff. The Sharepoint document can be found on the Corporate Intranet. (Corporate Intranet > UHN Operational Playbook)

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 UHN.ca. The last ELF meeting was held on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Enterprise Risk Management Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is a process whereby Management and other key personnel seek to create a single view of all organizational risks, both internal and external, together with an executive-level management strategy to deal with those risks. While UHN has had a structured ERM process in place for many years, that process has been undergoing a refresh. Carefully assessing risk is a vital element of decision-making at UHN. ELF was asked to endorse UHN's updated ERM Policy and Framework, documents that together outline the process of risk identification, classification, and management, with accompanying roles and responsibilities. ELF was also presented with revised "risk appetite statements" to provide guardrails for decision-making and support the drafting of the next Strategic Plan.
  • Who Presented? Marc Toppings (VP & Chief Legal Officer) and Fraser Pennie (Senior Risk Advisor)
  • What do I need to know: ELF unanimously approved the updated ERM Policy and Framework that together will facilitate a consistent approach to identifying, managing, and reporting on top and emerging risks. ELF also supported updates to the organization's risk appetite statements, made to reflect the organization's measured approach to risk-taking to drive innovative care, research, and education, while never compromising the quality of care or safety of our patients. Moving forward, ELF will receive bi-annual reports from the ERM Office and that office will continue to engage leaders and their teams across the organization to execute this work.

Group Benefits Redesign for Non-Unionized Employees Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: People & Culture is leading an important redesign of UHN's benefits plan, an enormous undertaking for the organization that seeks to make the plan more modern and simplified while best supporting TeamUHN and respecting the principles of equity, inclusion, and diversity. People & Culture representatives came to ELF to update the group on their progress on planned changes for non-unionized employees.
  • Who Presented? Andrea Vearncombe (Senior Director, Total Rewards), Sheila O'Brien (EVP, People & Culture), and Diana Elder (VP, People & Culture)
  • What do I need to know: There will be a partial launch of the new design in January 2023, followed by the full launch set for January 2024. In the new year, non-unionized TeamUHN members can expect enhanced benefits for speech therapy, gender affirmation, and mental health – all areas that have seen the highest prevalence of employee requests. More details and communications will be shared in the future. The People & Culture representatives underscored to ELF how important strong benefits are to TeamUHN members and the organization's ambitions to remain among the best hospitals in the world. Members of unions have their benefits negotiated when union contracts open.

Closing Notes

October 24-30 is Canadian Intensive Care Week an opportunity to celebrate our ICU colleagues and their tremendous service to UHN and our patients. Our critical care teams care for our sickest patients and provide support to their families when they are at their most vulnerable. They make difficult decisions daily, and provide support for one another whenever it is needed. Please join me in expressing sincere gratitude for our critical care colleagues, whose resilience and composure keeps our ICUs running efficiently.

This week is also Canadian Patient Safety Week! At UHN, we are focusing on improving Escalation of Care (EOC) – the communication of a concern to the most appropriate team member. EOC remains one of the highest-risk times in the patient care journey, and one that contributes to some of the highest proportions of avoidable harm at UHN. As of June 2022, a UHN patient experiences serious avoidable harm (“SSE1-4") related to EOC every 31 days (on average). This week, Quality, Safety and Clinical Adoption will introduce you to EOC as we enter EOC Month in November. Watch this short video to learn more about EOC at UHN: Escalation of Care at UHN - YouTube. For more information on EOC or Canadian Patient Safety Week, please visit Escalation of Care (EOC) (sharepoint.com) and Canadian Patient Safety Week (healthcareexcellence.ca).

A new sexual health clinic at the Princess Margaret seeks to close a gap in care for cancer patients at UHN and across Canada.The Sexual Health Clinic will treat patients experiencing sexual dysfunction – both physical and psycho-social – resulting from their diagnosis and treatment. The Sexual Health Clinic will initially offer treatment to patients with prostate cancer, where sexual dysfunction can be as high as 90 per cent. The clinic plans to expand next year to other specific cancers including bladder, testicular, ovarian, kidney, cervical, and head and neck. This is an important step in normalizing a topic that can be uncomfortable for both patients and oncologists. As Dr. Andrew Matthew, Head of the Sexual Health Clinic, told UHN News, "patients don't ask, physicians don't ask, and because of that, institutions don't offer – which is why there are very few sexual health clinics in cancer hospitals in North America." This is yet another example of how UHN is thinking differently and charting new paths for our patients. Read all about it at UHN News.​

And, in another great read from UHN News, don't miss this story about how the occupational therapy team at Toronto Rehab's Lyndhurst Centre helped a patient rediscover his love of cooking meatballs. With a therapy plan that included cooking-inspired activity to improve pinch, grip strength, and fine motor movements, the patient achieved his goal of getting back in the kitchen. "At the core of our practice is helping people find meaning or purpose," Tess Devji, an occupational therapist at Lyndhurst, told UHN News. The story was another reminder in Occupational Therapy Month about the life-changing work done by OTs, occupational therapy assistants, physiotherapy assistants, and rehab assistants.

As we all know, UHN is an amazing hospital with exciting and enlightening things happening around every corner. Going forward, we'll end this update by sharing a video from our new TikTok account that reminds us what a special place this is. This week, check out this video which highlights our great Medical Device Reprocessing Department at Toronto General. Already, it has more than 1.4 million views. Wow.


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Have a good week,


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