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Good Monday morning,

1. Highlights on UHN's Essentials

As mentioned in my last update, UHN’s Essentials​ represent our central responsibilities as a leading academic health sciences centre. Read here to learn about them all. Below, you’ll find our highlights on UHN’s Essentials from last week.

 People and Culture  More new hires than usual: It’s always great to have more nursing talent here at UHN! We have 103 new nursing staff starting in January and more than 100 new hires who started between November and December. The challenging part is that our HR information system, Clinical Managers and Advanced Practice Nurse Educators are struggling to onboard the unusually high volume of new team members. This not only impacts our ability to deliver safe and quality patient care, but also the work experience of our new colleagues. Joy Richards, our Chief Health Professions, is working with her teams along with operations to establish a more predictable and standardized hiring strategy for our nursing workforce.

 Operational Excellence  Patient transportation reminder: Many of you know that ordering taxis to transport patients using UHN funds is not our standard protocol – we do this to help steward public funds wisely. However, in rare and special circumstances, there may be a need to use taxi services to best serve the people we are caring for. Last week, some patients were left waiting for their ride from our new taxi vendor, Co-Op Cabs. Our project team is working closely with Co-Op to improve their service delivery for patients, including better coordination of patient pickups. In cases where patients are not able to travel without additional support, staff should continue to request a dedicated patient transport service (i.e. Spectrum, with Voyago being the alternative service provider). Read more about our transportation policy here.

 Quality and Safety  Ministry of Labour, outbreaks and infection prevention: Flu season continues and we have a reported flu outbreak on two units at Toronto Rehab’s Bickle Centre. This is in addition to the cases that are presenting across UHN and other hospitals across the province. Our partners at the Ministry of Labour visited one of UHN’s units on outbreak and reminded us how important it is for everyone to follow IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) precautions for each patient room they enter – every time. Let us remember that accountability is both personal and organizational!

2. Expenses and UHN’s stewardship of public funds 

Our colleagues in Finance are charged with gathering itemized invoices for all purchases, even minor ones, so we can demonstrate UHN’s responsible stewardship of public funds. I’ll remind everyone that providing itemized invoices is also an audit requirement. If an invoice you have submitted has been flagged as needing additional information, please don’t hesitate to bring it forward to your manager or Finance – questions are always welcome at UHN, so long as they are raised respectfully and civilly.

3. Managing conflict of interest

In last week’s update, I shared an article from The New York Times about Memorial Sloan Kettering’s issues around conflict of interest. One of our Clinical Nurse Specialists on TeamUHN replied to me saying they enjoyed the piece and asked:

“What is UHN doing to set up policies, guidelines, etc to ensure that our physicians and scientists are working ethically with industry and not personally financially advantaged. This is likely going to become a greater issue as we look for more partnerships and want to meet strategic goals.”

An important question! Potential conflicts of interest are good because it means we’re living up to our purpose at UHN by inventing things – and the more we invent, the more our potential for conflict of interest increases. What we must do concurrently is manage that conflict better and more transparently. We’re working to accomplish this with our Relationship Management Committee at UHN. Now that we have a few initial steps in place, including the creation of our Terms of Reference which will serve as our guide for managing conflicts of interest, we be talking about this more and posting information next month on our Corporate Intranet.

Have a good week,
Kevin

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