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​​Good Monday morning,

1. Highlights on UHN's Essentials

UHN’s Essentials are essential to the work we do as a leading academic health sciences centre – hence the name! Read here to learn more. Below, you’ll find highlights on UHN’s Essentials from last week. 

Operational Excellence  “Why are we doing this?” and “is this necessary?” – the value of these questions in numbers: Last week, Deb Davies (Nurse Manager for Toronto General’s Emergency Department) asked to remove two unnecessary blood tests from the department’s protocol orders, which is expected to yield an incredible $66,000 in savings. But much more importantly, unnecessary tests also add risk to patients so eliminating them is truly caring safely! It also helps meet our budget shortfall without reducing further positions in worked hours. This great network-wide opportunity was uncovered thanks to staff nurses asking “why are we doing this?” followed by Deb empowering them to lead grassroots projects based on the answers. Note their goal wasn’t to find cost savings but rather to ask why we do the things we do, which is a shockingly effective way to better care for patients while also saving time and money. So, let’s remember to critically examine the way we work. I have no doubt we can improve outcomes for both patients and TeamUHN! Adding a “Submit your ideas” section to my Q&A page shortly. Stay tuned.

Quality and Safety  In the last six months, UHN managed more than 500 drug shortages. We recently managed the effects of another recall due to impurities found in some products and just before then, we investigated a strange discoloration in some of our medications which thankfully turned out to be harmless. Product recalls, discontinuations, and shortages of critical medication can seem like a weekly occurrence. Thankfully, our colleagues in Pharmacy work in close collaboration with clinician colleagues to manage these risks to patient care on a daily basis. Let’s express our gratitude for their commitment to putting the needs of patients first.

Compassionate Care and Caring  Bravo to our colleagues at Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) and the Vascular Clinic at Toronto General! Allow me to highlight an excerpt from this glowing patient letter they received. “While TGH has always led the way in so many fields and I could always count on the utmost of good care, in the past several years there has been a sea change in the way the staff interact with patients. We are treated with respect and caring at every step of the way and this has made so much difference in the overall patient experience. It certainly isn’t the ‘old TGH’.” Underscores the importance of both “care” and “caring”.

One more note - last week, I mentioned another patient compliment letter and was provided the name Jessica Faulkner when it is in fact Jessica Rebeiro who deserves the kudos. Caring Safely would advise me to use the safety tool “cross-check”!  

2. Worth printing: “13 things mentally strong people won’t do”

I sent this list to members of our Executive Leadership Forum last week and think it’s important to share with all of you too. Many of us know the right way to approach a situation - “don’t act like a jerk” seems like an obvious start - but we often forget to put our own wisdom into practice. Stress, exhaustion, and a number of other factors can easily cloud good judgment. So, at the risk of incurring Ed Rubinstein’s wrath, I suggest you print this list of “13 things mentally strong people won’t do” and post it somewhere visible. Great overview on the tenets of emotional intelligence, which may be our most important educational focus for leaders and all future leaders moving forward.

3. The federal budget and how it impacts UHN

For those who didn’t follow the presentation of Canada’s Budget 2019, it was great to see TeamUHN’s advocacy efforts paying off specifically in the domain of cancer research. The budget proposes $150 million over five years to the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) to help establish the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network, which includes UHN’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre​ as a member, and represents the largest commitment to health research in the budget. The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre launched a pilot of this network two years ago with TFRI and the BC Cancer Agency with support from The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. UHN is proud to work with TFRI and our colleagues across Canada to create this new network and to be a part of the Terry Fox legacy. Thanks to Brad Wouters (Executive Vice President, Science & Research) and many, many dedicated colleagues for making this a reality. Next is to continue our advocacy for funding research excellence across all domains!

Have a good week,  

Kevin

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