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

  • Thank you to everyone who worked in service of patients and colleagues on Family Day. We also thank everyone's family members and loved ones for supporting you and by extension patients, TeamUHN and A Healthier World.
  • Next Virtual Open Forum is on Feb. 23 – moving to a bi-weekly schedule: Thank you for voting on your preferred forum frequency. Based on the results, we will be hosting forums every other week unless something significant changes in the state of COVID-19. In the meantime, read answers to FAQs here – updated regularly. (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Virtual Open Forum (top right box) > Open Forum FAQ).
  • Good news – all 13 long-term care homes that we are partnered with at UHN have had their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine! Beyond that, all 67 long-term care homes and 70+ high-risk retirement homes are close to being fully vaccinated thanks to Team Vaccine – which includes mobile squads from UHN and nine other hospitals.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to the concerning state of COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.

Future planning for COVID-19 vaccines

  • Background: We remain limited in our vaccine supply but continue to plan for the hopeful future where there is an adequate supply to meet demand. In anticipation of this future state, Toronto Public Health reached out to all Ontario Health Teams requesting information about their future vaccination strategies. UHN is part of the Mid-West Toronto Ontario Health Team (OHT). Thanks to Lori Seeton (Manager of Strategy, Clinical Programs and Optimization) and Camille Lemieux (Chief of Family Medicine), we have coordinated our response with our OHT partners.
  • Who presented? Emily Musing (Vice President, Clinical; Chief Patient Safety Officer)
  • What do I need to know? Once there is adequate supply of vaccine and the Province completes Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout plan, we anticipate that public clinics will be offered by public health units in very large spaces where large numbers of individuals can be vaccinated. It seems likely that UHN's clinics (The Michener Institute and MaRS, as well as the BMO Centre) may continue to operate if helpful to Toronto Public Health. We are also looking into working with partners with significant space to permit large-scale vaccination efforts including our partners at the University of Toronto.

Clinical capacity and staffing

  • Background: Last week, the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital opened as a COVID-19 centre, providing much needed relief to the health system. That said, we know we are in a "COVID-19 valley" and that cases may increase due to community transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern. We are ready to open more COVID-19 units if necessary. Thank you to all the teams involved for adapting as we open and close COVID-19 units.
  • Who presented? Marnie Escaf (Vice President) and Fayez Quereshy (Vice President)
  • What do I need to know? Given our staffing challenges across the health system – not just at UHN – it is important we are deploying people where they are most needed.

Overview of last week

1. Phase 1 of Synapse, our clinical transformation journey at UHN, officially launched

  • Background: Synapse represents UHN's clinical transformation journey which will be supercharged by a new Health Information System (HIS). The governance model for Synapse includes four Advisory Councils and nearly two dozen Working Groups led by clinicians, with subject matter experts from clinical and service provider areas across UHN. The Synapse Working Groups will make ~80% of the decisions that will shape how this transformation unfolds (along with the UHN Data & Analytics Operations Council and Digital Patient Experience Working Group). They will be relying on the feedback of frontline colleagues who are closest to patients and the work of UHN.
  • What happened last week? The project kicked off Phase 1: Workflow Walkthrough & System Configuration with 84 sessions over three days. During the kickoff event, 540 people – UHN leaders, Working Group and Advisory Council members, and the Synapse project team – saw a demonstration of the Epic software from the perspective of a patient and multiple clinicians and service providers.
  • What do I need to know? UHN's clinical transformation will be supercharged a single source of truth about a patient's journey. It will enable TeamUHN to spend less time on documentation and rework and more on care, service, and innovation. Synapse is a top priority for UHN and cannot be deferred – doing so would result in significant repercussions, which would compromise our ability to support TeamUHN long-term. We know many members of TeamUHN are eager to see the HIS to better understand what is possible so the recordings are available here. You can learn more about Synapse Working Groups here.

2. Attended UHN's Finance & Audit Committee of the Board

  • Background: The role of UHN's Finance & Audit Committee is to make recommendations to the UHN Board of Trustees (and Michener Board of Governors) on financial management, facilities and space management, information technology, and compliance oversight. The committee is chaired by Barbara Stymiest (UHN Trustee).
  • What happened last week? The Finance & Audit Committee met to discuss UHN's Q3 results, the financial impact of COVID-19, financial planning, progress report for Synapse (which is financially on track with expenses in line with budget), and other items.
  • What do I need to know? UHN's Q3 results were 0.7% below target which translates into an operating deficit of $11.8M. The Finance & Audit Committee recommended the Board of Trustees approve the Q3 Financial Statements and supported the financial planning approach for 2021/22, which includes maintaining existing financial targets and achieving a balanced budget. UHN will continue to work closely with the Ministry to manage inflation and other financial pressures.

Closing notes

Sign up now for UHN's COVID-19 Vaccine Registry if you haven’t already – even if you do not belong to Group A. While we are working to finish Group A before moving to Group B etc., it's important to get everyone registered so we can move quickly when we have available supply. Please share this information with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up here [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness page > Vaccine Information).


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Have a good week,


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