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

  • At last week's Open Forum, there was a question about whether UHN would be distributing Rapid Antigen Test kits. The kits we have are currently being given to individuals who are returning to work from a COVID illness or from a high-risk exposure to COVID which is usually because someone in their household has the virus, and are given at the time of the PCR test arranged by Health Services through the Toronto Western CAC. The federal government purchases the kits supplied to all provinces, who then determine distribution and, at this time, there is a limit on the number any hospital will receive. UHN will advocate for additional kits to be given through health care organizations to all health care workers as soon as there is more inventory in the provincial system.
  • Starting today, the government of Ontario will ease public health restrictions in place since the first week of January. The province will also begin a phased approach to resuming medical activities paused on Jan. 5, including non-urgent surgeries. As pressures ease, our priority will continue to be on urgent and emergent procedures, and we will constantly evaluate our surgical lists each week.
  • I remain optimistic that we may have reached the peak of the Omicron wave. On that note, I wanted to highlight this interesting commentary in The Lancet from Dr. Christopher Murray at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Murray makes the case that while variants will emerge, the end of extraordinary measures to control transmission is potentially near. We all hope the coming weeks demonstrate this to be true.
  • UHN is launching an Employee Referral bonus for hard-to-fill jobs so that together, we identify people who can deliver on UHN's promise of A Healthier World. Did you know that candidates coming from employee referrals are five times more likely to be hired? We know you have previous coworkers and classmates who you think would be a great fit for TeamUHN and we want to hear from you. If your referred candidate is hired, you will receive a monetary reward. Employees will receive a $2,000 reward split two ways: $1,000 when the candidate starts, and $1,000 on the one-year anniversary of the employee's hire date. For more information on how you can take part, visit the People & Culture page. (Corporate Intranet > Departments > People & Culture > Employee Referral Program)

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.

Supply shortage with COVID-19 therapeutics

  • Background: UHN is currently in a very low supply of some COVID-19 therapeutics, the most pressing of which is Remdesivir used to treat the moderately ill. There is intense global demand that has seen every country pushing to acquire these drugs and these supply issues are affecting all hospitals in Ontario.
  • Who presented? Patricia Murphy (Medical Advisory Committee Chair, UHN) and Jin-Hyeun Huh (Sr. Director, Pharmacy)
  • What do I need to know? Access to Remdesivir is a source of concern across the province. UHN and the Province are working with the Public Health Agency of Canada/Health Canada to secure more supply from the vendor, mindful that this is a global allocation process. A subcommittee of the Medical Affairs Committee has been struck to monitor these drug shortages and consider how best to allocate scarce therapeutics across the hospital system. The COVID-19 supplies dashboard has also been updated to include medications.

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 January 22, 2022.

Synapse update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: The Synapse project to transition to a new health information system (HIS) powered by Epic will go live on June 4, 2022. As part of the system and user-readiness phase of the project, current critical activities include: an end-to-end review of project risks, training registration, the testing of non-medical devices, and in-unit demos of those devices. Updates on these topics were presented to ELF.
  • Who presented? Chelsea King (Change Management and Benefit Realizations Lead), Ivanka Hanley (Sr. Manager, Training & Education) and Jennifer Hope (Project Director, End User Devices)
  • What do I need to know? On Wednesday, February 2, the 120-day Go-Live Readiness Assessment (GLRA) will be held. GLRAs are held at 120, 90, 60, and 30 days before go-live. The status of every workstream within the project is presented and notable risks and related mitigation plans are shared and discussed. GLRAs are essential for a safe and effective transition to Epic on June 4.
    More than 500 staff are already registered for training on the Epic system. Details about registration are available here. Key registration milestones before training for Super Users starts on March 21:
    • Feb. 2: Seeking to have 10% of end-users registered
    • March 9: 75% of end-users registered
    • March 18: 100% of end-users registered
  • Technical Dress Rehearsal (TDR) is underway. TDR involves the testing of every non-medical device that will be used with Epic (e.g. workstations, label printers, barcode scanners), and will continue until June to make sure every device will work on go-live date. Managers will be notified when the technical team will visit their unit. Technicians will spend 15-20 minutes at each workstation and place a green "pass" or yellow "retest" sticker on each device tested. The stickers are not to be removed. Technicians will return to units as many times as needed until there are only green stickers on devices. Learn more about TDR here.
  • The End User Device Roadshow will visit units at every site between February 14 and March 18, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Staff will have an opportunity to experience devices they may not be familiar with, such as barcode scanners, workstations on wheels, and iPhones enabled to access Epic. Trained facilitators will demonstrate devices for 30 minutes in a room near a department or unit's nursing station. More information about the End User Device Roadshow, including the schedule (available by February 7) is here.

Closing notes

Congratulations to Carol Miners on her retirement after 40 wonderful years at UHN! Carol started at Toronto General in 1981 as a staff nurse in the TG Operating Rooms where, after rotations in all services, cardiac became her passion. She has never looked back and went on to specialize in the cardiac ORs for all 40 years. She had a keen interest in pacemakers and ventricular assist devices, and has educated many of her peers and colleagues through presentations and hands-on experience. Carol was always focused on quality patient care and has supported a multitude of new learners that have joined the TG OR team. Her presence, passion, and advocacy will be dearly missed.

Tomorrow marks the start of Heart Month – an annual reminder of the importance of cardiovascular health, and an opportunity to celebrate our team at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre for their dedication to those living with heart and vascular disease. Join the PMCC on social media for stories of perseverance, medical innovation, and life-saving collaborations, as well as a look back at some of the moments that established the PMCC as a world leader in cardiovascular care.

World Cancer Day is on Friday, Feb. 4. The theme for this year is "Close the Care Gap" which is about recognising the inequities in cancer care around the globe. The goal of the campaign is to move towards equitable access to cancer treatment and care for all. Thanks to everyone on TeamUHN for advancing world-class cancer care, research, and education and elevating access to care. Special shout out to our Radiation Medicine Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for creating the Case Expert Model, which is a person-centred approach to radiation therapy. A patient is partnered with an individual radiation therapist (RT), who provides support and performs all rounds of radiotherapy, serving as the primary point of contact. It increases efficiency by eliminating transitions among different RTs as happens in standard practice. It has led to greater rapport between patients and RTs and increased responsiveness from patients and their families. The model was recently honoured with a Local Impact Award and aligns with UHN's vision of A Healthier World.

UHN has partnered with Tafelmusik for the month of February to bring TeamUHN a watch party of four digital concerts to enjoy from the comfort of your homes. Concert access is through a free one-time registration, and videos will refresh each Monday and be available to view for one week from the start date of each concert. The first concert opens on February 7, 2022 and will be available for seven days at any time. Concert details and registration information will be available in an all-user today.


Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,

Back to Top