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

  • Health Services, UHN Cares and UHN COVID Care have partnered to answer individual questions and offer help to those who have yet to receive their first COVID vaccine dose. Details on how to access this service were sent this morning in an All-User email on behalf of Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control) and John Granton (Medical Director, Health Services and Respirologist / Intensivist, UHN), Integrated Care and COVID CARES programs.
  • Today is the day to vote in the federal election. I encourage everyone who is able to vote today if you have not already. Please make sure you take your mask with you and stay physically distant if you have to line up.
  • Synapse Readiness & Engagement Hub and Policy Hub. Synapse Working Groups and Advisory Councils have shifted their focus from making decisions about configuring the Epic system to helping operational areas be familiar with the changes that result from those decisions. This work is part of organizational change management. To enable effective collaboration across the groups and councils, the Synapse project team has set up the Readiness & Engagement Hub and Policy Hub comprised of representatives from Working Groups and Advisory Councils. The representatives will use the Hubs to help ensure communication to impacted operational teams about the changes ahead and updates to policies don’t happen in silos. Learn more here.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to 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.

Prevalence of the COVID-19 Delta Variant

  • Background: The Delta variant has now been confirmed as the variant in almost all of Ontario’s reported cases of COVID-19. It is clear that it is much more contagious than other variants. The Executive COVID-19 IMS meetings have been restarted to ensure that we are doing everything possible to maintain our ability to care for all patients in the weeks ahead.
  • Who presented? Niall Ferguson (Head, Critical Care) and Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control)
  • What do I need to know? The 7-day average for both cases and hospital admissions have flattened. This is welcome and good news. What is presently unknown, is whether the re-opening of schools will lead to an increase in COVID cases amongst students and their families since those under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. What remains true, is that the majority of COVID patients admitted to hospitals are unvaccinated individuals.

Vaccination Required for Business Visitors Coming to UHN Sites

  • Background: UHN expects that all contractors, business visitors, and learners who are coming on site must be double vaccinated by October 22, 2021.
  • Who presented? Brad Wouters (Executive Vice President, Science & Research)
  • What do I need to know? To provide the safest possible environment for TeamUHN and patients, all businesses that work with UHN and require their to be staff at UHN sites, must now ensure their employees are double vaccinated by October 22. This also includes educational institutions, which will be expected to ensure double vaccination of learners coming on site.

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN’s Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. See the full membership on The last ELF meeting was held on September 16, 2021.

Update on UHN's Outpatient Strategy

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Development of UHN’s Outpatient Care Strategy began in August 2020 with a comprehensive internal and external Current State Analysis, which included feedback from TeamUHN, our patients, peer hospitals, and learnings from other industries. Together, a newly appointed Outpatient Care Council and Patient Engagement Consultant Group (OC-PECG) has co-developed the Outpatient Care Strategy with the aim to define and achieve best practice Outpatient Care for our patients and their Essential Care Partners (ECPs). Having been uniquely guided by UHN’s patient community, the strategy was presented to ELF last week with three of its OC-PECG Patient Partners in attendance.
  • Who presented?Catherine Wang (Vice President, Clinical), Jennifer Catton (Director, Outpatient Strategy and Diagnostic Performance), and Mohit Arora, Santa Cuda and Maya Stern (UHN Patient Partners)
  • What do I need to know? The Outpatient Care Strategy has established a vision to deliver compassionate care coordinated with patients and their Essential Care Partners. The strategy will be formally launched and communicated to all of TeamUHN in October, and implemented over the next five years. It is intended to work in collaboration with, and to support, Synapse initiatives.

Speech Recognition Project: Electronic Patient Record (EPR) and Dragon Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: In August 2021, UHN rolled out a speech recognition update (Dragon Medical One) with EPR to approximately 1,000 phone dictation users (mostly staff physicians but excluding medical learners) to encourage a move away from phone dictation. This presentation provided a progress update on the project as well as current speech recognition (self) dictation adoption metrics and benefits. Strategies to increase adoption of self-dictation were discussed, including targets and strategies for further engagement.
  • Who presented?Peter Rossos (Chief Medical Information Officer) and Jackie Kwong, (Strategic Planner, Finance Projects)
  • What do I need to know? This project is well underway as speech recognition will also be offered as part of Epic, which goes live in June 2022 – phone dictation will then be phased out as part of optimizing the new HIS. There is recognition that a lot of work and education will be needed to ensure that the use of Dragon is fully adopted across the clinical enterprise.

Finance Update

  • Background: Every year, UHN begins the planning process for the budget year ahead and Finance has begun outlining what the upcoming year, fiscal 2022-23, looks like at this point in time. Given the challenges of COVID-19 and the additional revenues received this year from the provincial government, it is currently hard to predict what funds are forthcoming from the government, but planning assumptions are that we will return to the hospital’s baseline budget before COVID-19, with some inflationary adjustments.
  • Who presented?Kelly Enair (Deputy Chief Financial Officer) and Darlene Dasent (Vice President and Chief Financial Officer)
  • What do I need to know? As we work through what the budget process is and the implications for the current and upcoming fiscal year, we will share information, process and principles.

Overview of last week

Meeting of UHN’s Board of Trustees

  • Background: Last week, there was a meeting of the Board of Trustees and an orientation session for new Board members.
  • What happened last week? Board meetings were paused over the summer months, so the September meeting feels like the start of the year. The Board members have been in touch throughout the summer virtually and are very supportive of all of the work that takes place at UHN.)
  • What do I need to know? During the meeting, the Board of Trustees passed a motion to ensure that all were aware of the Board’s unanimous support of UHN’s Mandatory Vaccine Policy. The Board also received the reports of the Subcommittees and approved all motions recommended. There was significant discussion and concern with respect to retention and recruitment and the strategies to best support TeamUHN, and also how best to use the resources of the Michener Institute at UHN in creating sustainable models of care in the future.

Closing notes

Altum Health and TeamUHN mourn the passing of beloved team member, Wendy Lawlor, who dedicated 15 years of her career to Altum Health. In that time, she held many different leadership roles including Senior Manager, Director of Operations, Senior Director and most recently, Strategic Advisor. Wendy was a natural leader with a passion for exceptional client care that showed in every avenue of her roles. As a trusted mentor, she was able to instill loyalty and cohesiveness across the organization, bringing about impactful change. Her friends and colleagues will remember her as someone who always lit up the room with boundless positive energy. My sincerest condolences to Wendy’s family, friends, and colleagues.

September 17 was World Patient Safety Day. Check out the new SharePoint section in the Quality & Safety team’s online offering that aims to connect the UHN Q&S community, help those working in Q&S to navigate UHN, and provide additional Q&S resources, education, and events. Check it out here​.


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Have a good week,

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