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Good Monday morning,

For this safety update, I'll focus on UHN's MDRD (Medical Device Reprocessing Department). For those who don't know, we've been experiencing ongoing quality issues in our MDRD due to several factors including aging facilities and a need for more collaboration between departments. I know this is frustrating our staff and physicians so I'm glad to offer some light at the end of the tunnel:  

  • AnnMarie Tyson (Director, Infection Prevention & Control and MDRD), the Office of Stewardship & Sustainability and Emily Musing (Vice President, Quality and Safety) have finished analyzing the root causes of our MDRD issues and are consulting our surgical staff, vendors, subject matter experts and beyond to better understand our process issues. We expect a recommendation based on their work by the end of the month and look forward to partnering with our MDRD staff to reimagine the way we use our resources and identify the best solutions.
  • Our new government is fiscally focused and measurement will allow us to demonstrate that UHN is worthy of continued investment. MDRD is an area primed and ready for this – so we must take full advantage by introducing and using staff-friendly tools to measure our MDRD-related work.  

I also visited Toronto Rehab's (TR) Rumsey Centre and Lyndhurst sites for the first time a​nd thank our staff for educating me about how they care for patients with specialized needs. While at Lyndhurst, I had the chance to meet Danielle Kane, a remarkable young woman, aspiring nurse and also a survivor of the Danforth shooting. When I expressed my remorse for what happened, her response was inspiring and optimistic. Many of us were shaken by the events of that terrible day, but meeting Danielle was a reminder of what's good in the world – and that we should feel privileged when encountering people like her. May we all follow Danielle's example in the way we treat each other.   

Danielle Kane and Sue Jewell
With Danielle Kane and Sue Jewell (Senior Vice President, Executive Lead, TR)

During my visit, I also heard how wheelchairs are delaying our ability to safely discharge patients and the inefficiencies wheelchair distribution introduce to our health system. For instance, patients are sometimes ready to be discharged before their prescribed wheelchair arrives, preventing them from going home sooner. And, with incomplete spinal cord injuries, wheelchairs are sometimes no longer needed after a year and sit in people's homes unused – which is frankly a waste. Reusing wheelchairs does pose some liability (what if the wheelchair doesn't fit properly or breaks) but there's a clear opportunity to create meaningful change, improve our patient experience, and help people waiting in acute care needing specialized spinal cord rehab get rehab sooner. We need to work together and problem solve!

Next, I had the pleasure of attending an event recognizing the 95th anniversary of neurosurgery in Canada. Great to reflect on how far the discipline has come, starting in 1938 with the first published case report on neurosurgery – and now thriving as an internationally renowned division through the University of Toronto (U of T) and our U of T-affiliated peers at St. Michael's Hospital, Sunnybrook, SickKids and of course our own Toronto Western. Also great to see Dr. Alan Hudson there, who many of you know as the person responsible for creating UHN as its founding CEO. Drs. Charles Tator, Andres Lozano and James Rutka all of who have played seminal roles in building this world-class division provided inspiring comments. These leaders and their teams have placed Toronto at the pinnacle of the neurosurgery scene.

I'll note that October seems especially busy with awareness weeks and months, including:

  • Ultrasound Awareness Month, where we recognize our sonographer colleagues in the Joint Department of Medical Imaging and Toronto General's vascular and echo labs.
  • World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10 was an opportunity to reiterate the importance of integrating physical and mental health, and appreciate the breadth and scope of UHN's mental health and addictions services – something we must shine more and more light on. UHN is one of the GTA's largest providers of mental health and addiction services and we also realize with our partners we can do a much better job ensuring all patients have better access to behavioural healthcare and mental health and addictions consumers get better access to medical care.
  • UHN is also recognizing Health Literacy Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a countless number of other observances. I am trying to participate in as many events as possible – and hope we remember to raise awareness of important issues and acknowledge great colleagues every day!

Finally, I'd like to issue a correction. Last week, when mentioning the Premier's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine, I wrote that Richard Reznick was UHN's former Vice President of Research when he is in fact our former Vice President of Education.

Have a good week,

Kevin

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