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.

Quality and Safety Despite being first in line to get my flu shot, I managed to fall ill and was out of the office last week. I attempted to come in once or twice but was reminded how important it is to stay home when sick. The words "go home!!" are still ringing loudly in my ears! Thanks to my concerned colleagues for caring safely. When you aren't feeling well, it can be tempting to go to work – but you risk spreading illness to others including patients and colleagues. If you are well enough to work but worried about infecting others, take advantage of UHN's Work from Home policy if your role permits. Some final reminders as we prepare for peak flu season:

  • Get your flu shot.
  • If you are sick, stay home and see your physician.
  • Know about proper personal protective equipment practices and hand hygiene. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands.
  • Read more on UHN News

People and Culture I was unable to attend last week's Fall Long-Service Tea for Princess Margaret and Toronto General due to my aforementioned bug. I am sure our long-serving colleagues were glad to receive their pins without me coughing all over them! Please join me in a round of applause for all recipients – and allow me to extend a special shout out to the remarkable colleagues who have served more than 40 years:

  • Malcolm Smith (Research, Princess Margaret) – 45 years
  • Frances Shepherd (Hematology/Oncology, Princess Margaret) – 40 years
  • James Townsend (Patient Porter, Princess Margaret) – 40 years
  • Jane Lee (PACU, Toronto General) – 45 years
  • Diana Babcock (Transcription Services, Toronto General) – 40 years
  • Helen Caraoulanis (Medical Education, Toronto General) – 40 years
  • Harry Rakowski (Cardiology, Toronto General) – 40 years
  • Colleen Scully (Nursing Supervisors, Toronto General) – 40 years

Technology World-first robotic assisted aneurysm treatment helps advance UHN's role on the global stage! Last week, our colleagues in interventional neuroradiology performed this world first at UHN's Toronto Western site. Congratulations to Vitor Pereira (Neuroradiologist), Timo Krings (Division Head, Neuroradiology), Nicole Cancelliere (Medical Radiation Technologist) and the multi-disciplinary team of nurses, physicians and medical radiation technologists from the Joint Department of Medical Imaging for bringing our mission of advanced care, research and education to life! The procedure will eventually help enable remote stroke treatment for patients in rural communities – and is thus a great step towards A Healthier World. To learn more about this treatment and its potential, see the Globe and Mail story.

2. What we discussed at our Executive Leadership Forum meeting

Here is what we discussed at last week's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) meeting. See who attends these meetings on

  • UHN Medical Device Alert Recall Process
    Linda Flockhart (Director, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Toronto General)
    The Federal government passed legislation known as "Vanessa's law" which requires hospitals to report serious adverse medical device incidents to Health Canada within 30 days of first documentation within the hospital. UHN already has reporting processes in place, but we have an opportunity to further streamline and standardize those processes. Data collection exists and is being implemented across the organization as we establish a more robust system to meet Health Canada requirements. Thanks to Linda for bringing forward a series of recommendations on how we can deliver. These recommendations were developed by a working group which investigated the current practices of each clinical specialty department.
  • Conflict of Interest (COI) Institutional Official Guidelines
    Presenters: Marc Toppings (Chief Legal Officer), Leah Daniels (Director, Compliance)
    UHN and our TAHSN (Toronto Academic Health Science Network) peers have come together to create a unified approach for managing conflicts of interest. In addition to adopting this TAHSN-wide approach, we went a step further at UHN by creating guidelines at UHN for ensuring more stringent management of relationships for UHN's senior leaders (members of ELF, Site Vice Presidents, Program Medical Directors and Research Institute Directors). As I've mentioned before, potential conflict of interest is a positive thing – if we weren't inventing new products and methods, we wouldn't be a world-class academic health sciences centre! UHN's success is defined by how we consistently, transparently and actively manage any conflicts or perceived conflicts. The purpose of these Institutional Official Guidelines is to further protect the integrity of UHN and the patients we serve. The guidelines were presented to ELF and approved.
  • Institute of Health Optimization (IHO) – Initial Assessment
    Terri Stuart-McEwan (Executive Director, Surgical Services)
    The IHO methodology is a scientific approach for managing clinical variability and has been adopted by Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital – who happen to be our peers on Newsweek's top 10 hospitals list! UHN's IHO Initiative launched in February 2019. The project goal is to achieve optimal patient flow in surgery at UHN by developing systemic operational processes and tools. These will help us make operational improvements in a sustainable way. Thanks to Tom and Terri for updating ELF on our progress. The project is now more than halfway complete.
  • Preparing for our Nov. 20 Board of Trustees meeting: Surgery and critical care
    Shaf Keshavjee (Surgeon-in-Chief), Fayez Quereshy (Interim Vice President and Site Lead, Toronto General)
    As many of you know, we share updates on a variety of topics at our quarterly Board of Trustees meeting. On Nov. 20, our colleagues from Surgery and Critical Care will be sharing an update. In preparation, they did a practice run with ELF. Their presentation reviews the draft strategic plan for Surgery and Critical Care and other major program initiatives including the aforementioned IHO work and our partnership with Vivify Health, a mobile app that will enable digital care in the home and remote monitoring.
  • KPMG Report – Onboarding for non-paid staff
    Libby Duckworth, KPMG
    KPMG performs an ongoing internal audit of UHN to ensure we are operating as effectively as possible. One of the areas they audited was the way we onboard non-paid staff. While we are generally efficient, the area of improvement is that we have no single listing for all non-paid staff across UHN. This means many different teams are managing different processes to accomplish the same thing – onboard non-paid staff. Yet another opportunity for us to work more effectively together as one TeamUHN.

3. Preparing UHN's Corporate Command Team for GTA Unified

Our Corporate Command Team – which includes several leaders at UHN – came together to prepare for the GTA Unified Code Orange Exercise on Nov. 28 and receive training for managing incidents. GTA Unified is a GTA-wide Code Orange drill that involves 22 hospital sites including UHN. I was absent for this training since I was sick but getting up to speed this week. To make the training more engaging (and thus effective!) for everyone, I am told our colleagues in Emergency Preparedness tapped into TeamUHN's competitive spirit. Everyone was asked to use their phones to log into a game-based learning platform and answer as many questions as quickly as possible. Congratulations to John Shannon (Director, Safety Services) for emerging as our reigning champion! We are all working to match John's level of emergency preparedness knowledge so we can build a safe, prepared and resilient TeamUHN.

Have a good week,


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