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

  • The Synapse incident command structure is ramping down. Our initial implementation of Epic has gone quite well – though I know not without frustrations! There are still many issues to resolve, which is to be expected. Ensuring those issues are addressed effectively from both the clinical and technical perspectives is critical to ongoing fixes, improvements, and education. An incident command structure that leveraged UHN's Incident Management Structure (IMS) was stood up for go-live since the implementation posed a potential risk to patient care and normal clinical operations. Over the past two weeks, we have seen the need for incident command posts at each site diminish, and an increase in the need to blend Synapse Working Group governance with operational structures for decision-making and cascading information to teams. As a result, the incident command structure for the Epic implementation is ramping down with command posts becoming virtual and Top Ten meetings held every other day instead of daily. There's 24/7 support from virtual super users. To reach one, call the Help Desk at ext. 4537, option 1, then option 2 followed by the code for the type of help you need. Refer to the support menu here.
    Work is underway to map out how the Synapse Working Groups and existing operational structures at UHN will intersect, and how issues presented to the Working Groups will be prioritized and made visible to all stakeholders. Leading the effort are Karen Martin (Chief Practice Information Officer), Peter Rossos (Chief Medical Information Officer), and Barry Rubin and Terri Stuart-McEwan (Synapse Implementation Committee Co-Chairs), along with Sarah Muttitt (Vice President, Chief Information Officer) and Robert Slepin (Sr. Project Director, HIS). More will be shared about this important work on sustainable governance of the Synapse project in the coming weeks.
    Once again, thank you TeamUHN. None of us is alone in this transformation and the power of collaboration and staying solution-focused can't be underestimated. Thank you for embracing our new Epic system with calm professionalism, and remaining dedicated to patient care and scholarship as we sort through issues and everyone works through personal and collective learning curves. I've also shared my thanks on the Kudoboard about the Synapse project which already has many great messages of appreciation from across the organization.
  • As I announced last week, entrance screening at UHN sites will end, effective July 4. With restrictions eased in Ontario amid a decrease in COVID-19 infections, it is expected that COVID special funding for screening will end. Of course, we know the virus has not disappeared and we must all protect ourselves and our colleagues – and most importantly our patients – to the best of our ability by staying home when sick, practicing physical distancing, and masking. Vaccination remains a requirement for every TeamUHN member, as well as people coming into the hospital as Essential Care Partners (ECPs) or to provide services as a vendor or contractor. Our Universal Masking Policy is also staying in place. We will maintain IPAC's best practices for patients, ensuring they are screened for symptoms and risks for communicable diseases using the IPAC screening tool at the point of clinic registration or admission to hospital. We are finalizing the process of ensuring that anyone who comes on-site will have self-screened and will be supplied with a medical mask if they need one. We are immensely grateful to the 200 people who did the hard, often thankless work of screening visitors to UHN sites to ensure they were not symptomatic or had not been exposed to COVID-19, and ensuring they were masked before entering.
  • Late last week, I was pleased to welcome to UHN a group of 20 healthcare leaders hailing from a variety of hospitals and medical centres in the Netherlands, who were part of a study trip to learn more about our system in Canada. We were proud to host them at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN, where we discussed both the opportunities and challenges in healthcare in a frank leadership roundtable with several members of our Executive Leadership Forum. They then had an opportunity to tour the Temerty Advanced Surgical Education and Simulation Centre at Michener. It was a wonderful visit and an important reminder of UHN's place as a global leader when it comes to care, discovery, and learning. As always with visitors, we're reminded we all have things to learn and things to teach.
  • On Saturday, I was honoured to participate in the convocation ceremony at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN and to share my congratulations with the Class of 2022. I am incredibly proud of the people at Michener – the dedicated and enthusiastic learners, as well as the educators who are training and building the future of healthcare. The graduates have stepped forward to be of service at a time when they are badly needed, and I know that they will always feel a strong and lasting connection to Michener and all of UHN.
  • As of today, the federal government has suspended its vaccine mandates for air and rail passengers in Canada, as well as federal employees. These measures were put in place in October 2021. Visitors to Canada are still required to be fully vaccinated to enter the country or have a valid exemption, a move that the federal government says will reduce the potential impact of international travel on our health system. Masks will remain mandatory for travellers boarding trains or planes in Canada, and all re-entry requirements will remain in place. Vaccine mandates for cruise ship passengers and crews will also remain. "Suspending this requirement is possible thanks to the tens of millions of Canadians who did the right thing: they stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, and got vaccinated," said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra. Learn more about this development on the Government of Canada website.
  • UHN's Virtual Emergency Department is expanding availability to serve more patients. Following the successful launch of Toronto's Virtual Emergency Department (a joint initiative between UHN, Unity Health Toronto, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) UHN has opted to expand its Virtual Emergency Department availability effective June 21, 2022. The move comes as a response to increased awareness and demand for the innovative service that is allowing Torontonians to book same-day virtual appointments with an emergency clinician when facing an urgent but non-life-threatening medical condition. For more on virtual hours, FAQs, and information on how to book an appointment, visit UHN's site or Toronto's Virtual Emergency Department website. Read more about Toronto's Virtual Emergency Department in this story from UHN News.

Closing Notes

Sunday was Father's Day, an occasion to celebrate and appreciate the fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, and paternal figures in our lives. Dedicated fathers play a vital role in helping to nurture and protect their children. To be a dad is to have the immense privilege and responsibility of teaching and guiding young people to reach their full potential, which ultimately benefits the entire society. We know that the pandemic added extra pressure and uncertainty on the shoulders of the parents at TeamUHN, especially for those with school-aged children. We celebrate all of the fathers and father figures at UHN who have stepped up, and recognize the lasting influence of so many dads on the values and principles we bring to work each day.

This Tuesday, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the unique cultures, languages, and traditions of the First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. For 25 years, this occasion has been marked on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and one that has deep spiritual significance for many Indigenous communities. As part of National Indigenous History Month, this day also provides us all an important opportunity to reflect on how each of us can walk the path of truth and reconciliation. This means having clear eyes to the injustices of the past, including the devastating residential school system, but also the systemic discrimination and inequalities that Indigenous communities continue to face today. The Indigenous Health Program at UHN, along with Indigenous staff at UHN, has partnered with the Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health at Women's College Hospital and the Toronto Central Region – Indigenous Cancer Program for a full day of outdoor events on the 21st at the Gitigan (garden) at the Michener Institute for Education at UHN, at the corner of Elm St. and McCaul St. A sacred fire will be lit for the first time at UHN, before the sunrise ceremony at 6 a.m. with Kookum Alita Sauve, and last until the closing ceremony at 4 p.m. In addition to scheduled speakers and drumming, drop-in activities include making your own dreamcatcher, medicine pouch, or orange shirt pin. A full schedule of events can be found here.

The 2SLGBTQIA+ Committee and Indigenous Health Program are co-hosting a virtual talk on Thursday, June 23. The event, "Identity: Understanding Who You Are & Where You Come From" will explore Two-Spirited teachings and traditional perspectives with cultural educator EJ Kwandibens, Northern Woodland Anishiinaabe from Waahbiidaahgaah First Nations and member of the Loon Clan. The discussion will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is open to staff, patients, and the general public, but organizers would like people to pre-register before the morning of June 23 to receive the link. You can register here. A recording will also be published online after the event. And stay tuned: 2SLGBTQIA+ training opportunities with Rainbow Health Ontario will be coming! Watch for announcements.

June is Thyroid Awareness Month. One in 10 Canadians of all walks of life suffers from some form of a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), Graves' eye disease, and thyroid cancer. According to the Thyroid Foundation of Canada, up to half of the individuals affected by a thyroid condition are undiagnosed, which can result in serious long-term health effects. The Thyroid Program at UHN, which works across the Toronto General, Toronto Western, and Princess Margaret hospitals, manages the highest volume of thyroid cases in the province and is leading the way with access to tumour and familial genetic testing, as well as the prevention and early detection of thyroid cancer. The Surgical Thyroid Programs at UHN manage thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal tumours, and treat a range of conditions, including thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, Graves' disease, and more.

Pride Toronto's annual festival weekend will take place from June 24 to 26, with thousands expected downtown to celebrate and show solidarity with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The festival grounds run along Church St. from Bloor St. East, down to Dundas St. East. TeamUHN members, particularly those who are working over the weekend, should be mindful of road closures that could affect their commute. Wellesley St. will be closed from midnight on Friday until 7 a.m. on Monday, while Church St. will be closed from 10 a.m. Friday until 7 a.m. on Monday. The Pride Parade will begin on Sunday at 2 p.m., starting at Bloor and Church St. before heading west and then south on Yonge St., ending at Yonge Dundas Square. The City of Toronto is expecting 200,000 spectators and 25,000 marchers to participate. For more on road closures this weekend, please consult the City of Toronto website.

As healthcare practice and technology evolves during and post-pandemic, Michener continues to hone and develop its Continuing Education courses to enable your professional development and career goals. The 2022/2023 Continuing Education Brochure is now available and includes new courses in areas such as Healthcare Ecosystems: Behind the Scenes; Difficult Conversations in Health Literate Care Simulations; Mental Health Nursing; and Ex-Vivo Lung Perfusion. I encourage you to consider how Michener's Continuing Education offerings can help you help the patients and families we serve.


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Have a good week,


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