Good Monday morning,

1) This week, we start with a sobering but important safety highlight:

  • Recognizing domestic violence in the workplace: In response to a number of tragic deaths of healthcare providers at the hands of their domestic partners, several physician leaders and occupational health colleagues at UHN – as well as Women's College Hospital, Sinai Health System St. Joseph's Health System and other TAHSN (Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network) hospitals – came together to develop a module to help healthcare professionals better recognize and address domestic violence occurring in their colleagues' lives. The module is 15 minutes and grounded in current evidence. I strongly encourage you all to take a look here. Helping colleagues in trouble is not something we sit on the sidelines for. This is something we take action on by knowing the warning signs and educating ourselves on the best way to help. Our hope is that by working together, we can prevent such horrific occurrences from happening ever again. In the new year, Health and Safety will be refreshing the current Learning Management System Violence program which will include the Domestic Violence module. Watch for the formal launch.
  • Flu season – what we're doing differently this time: We in Ontario healthcare remember the service pressures of last winter well. Thank you to our staff for demonstrating amazing levels of resilience last flu season and for trusting in us to deliver on our promise of doing better this year. We've carefully reviewed how we managed past flu seasons and here are the improvements we've identified based on lessons learned.
    • Princess Margaret: To help ensure General Internal Medicine (GIM) beds are available, processes are now in place for moving appropriate patients from Toronto General to Princess Margaret.
    • Toronto General: As I've mentioned, we have 24 GIM beds budgeted and we have some capacity to care for a surge of patients within the three GIM units – but we may need to off-service isolated patients due to the layout of our physical plant.
    • Toronto Rehab (TR): To make acute beds available for acutely ill patients, all TR programs have developed standards to move patients over to rehab as appropriate. A number of patients are moving the same day a referral is received.
    • Toronto Western: Addition of four GIM budgeted beds. And, we are piloting a new GIM geographic cohort system, which means our staff will see most of their patients on one unit, reducing their travel time between units and allowing them to focus more on patient care.
    • Many other steps are in place including our OverCapacity protocol and we are working on a simulation that will help us predict what our volumes may be up to seven days in advance, based on a typical flu volume pattern. If you have other ideas or would like to learn more, please email Brenda Kenefick (Director, Patient Flow) or Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control).
  • Canada-wide emergency alert test: Last Wednesday, the government of Canada issued an emergency alert to test their new nation-wide alert system. We're also reviewing our emergency preparedness at UHN, as many of you know, with our Code Orange training workshops and I know our peer hospitals are doing their own preparations. SickKids, for example, just held a mock exercise last week. Preparing for large-scale emergencies is something none of us can do alone and requires true teamwork and coordination – not just within UHN but across the city.

2) Last week, I made my first foray into the world of Facebook – I've actually had an account for years but am told I have some way to go if I only use it to see pictures of my family. So it was a new and welcome experience when Adalsteinn Brown (Dean, University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health) and I co-hosted a 15-minute Facebook Live chat on Ontario healthcare. Here we are for those who missed it . Together, we talked about patient transitions, the need for a more sustainable system and burnout across the healthcare professions. If you're "off the grid" and don't have Facebook, you can watch on YouTube.

3) Great opportunity to meet some of our physicians at a fireside chat hosted by UHN's Medical Staff Association (MSA). Thanks to Eric Horlick, President of the MSA, for the invitation. Many bright minds and next-generation leaders in attendance – developing them and maximizing their potential will be key to our shared success at UHN. One approach I recently read about in the BMJ is reverse mentoring, the act of flipping traditional roles so the more junior person mentors the senior person. The article says this trend started when GE executive Jack Welch ordered his senior staff to find junior mentors who could teach them computer skills in 1999. Perhaps our key to helping existing leaders stay relevant and connected to younger colleagues – and something to consider across all domains!

4) Finally, I got to spend some time with some of our colleagues at the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation at their Allied Professionals Breakfast – an opportunity for us to get together with our friends in the financial sector and discuss philanthropic giving – and their staff town hall. I've said it once and I'll say it again, our three Foundations are vital to what we all do at UHN so I'm happy to support their important work any way I can.

Have a good week,


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