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

  • On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled a new cabinet, and Sylvia Jones was sworn in as the province's new Health Minister and Deputy Premier. Ms. Jones, the MPP for the riding of Dufferin-Caledon, previously served as solicitor general. I was happy to represent UHN at the swearing-in and look forward to working with Minister Jones, Premier Ford, and the provincial government to advance care, research, and learning. For more on the new Ontario cabinet, visit the Government of Ontario website.
  • Congratulations to Pamela Hubley on her appointment as Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive for UHN, following a national search. She has been serving in the role in an interim capacity since January, while also serving as Vice President, Education and Academic Practice and Chief of International Nursing at SickKids Hospital. Pamela is completing her work at SickKids in order to take on this new challenge, which will see her assume responsibility for the practice of nursing and all allied health professions. An inspiring trailblazer and solutions-oriented executive leader, I know Pamela will bring her passion for nursing, innovative models of care, research, education, and building strong teams to this position. She will continue to serve as a member of the Executive Leadership Forum, and will sit on the Clinical Operations Group and UHN's Board of Trustees, while also leading the Collaborative Academic Practice Council. She will officially begin her new position on September 1, 2022. Our thanks to Joy Richards, currently our Vice President of UHN Health Education Development and Executive in Residence at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN, for all her work during her decade-long tenure as UHN's Chief Nursing Executive.
  • Active screening at UHN entrances will be replaced with passive screening – such as self-screening – effective Monday, July 4, 2022. This change is in keeping with provincial guidance. Screening booths at UHN sites will start to be removed on the afternoon of Sunday, July 3, and active screening could stop at some sites and entrances that night. Staff-only entrances requiring badge access will remain available.
    Universal masking and vaccination remain mandatory for every TeamUHN member, as well as vendors, Essential Care Partners (ECPs), and other visitors. Medical-grade masks will still be available at self-serve dispensers at all entrances.
    Patients seeking treatment at UHN are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated and must mask unless they have been granted an exemption before their appointment by a UHN physician or nurse practitioner. They will be screened for symptoms and risks for communicable diseases at the point of hospital admission or clinic registration, using the Epic Screening Tool or another method as guided by IPAC.
    We know that COVID-19 is not behind us and could spark another wave. UHN is prepared to potentially adjust these measures, including reinstituting some form of active screening, in the event of a concerning spike in COVID-19 activity. TeamUHN must continue to self-screen for symptoms and exposure risk and report to Health Services. Please remain vigilant in order to protect our colleagues and the patients we serve, particularly those who are immune-compromised. If you have questions, please contact IPAC@uhn.ca.
  • Also, in keeping with regional guidelines, patients may now have up to 2 ECPs or visitors at their bedside at the same time. ECPs must be fully vaccinated – with the exemption request and appeal process remaining in place – and must wear a well-fitted, medical-grade mask at all times. Visitor lists are no longer required. The staff tip sheet for ECPs and other resources will be updated in light of these changes. Children are permitted to visit at the discretion of the unit or care team, and kids over the age of 2 must wear a mask at all times. All children must be supervised by their parent or guardian.
  • There will be a Virtual Open Forum on Tuesday, June 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 12 p.m., focused on what's next with the Synapse project, including next steps and ongoing support. While Synapse questions will be prioritized, TeamUHN is invited to send questions about other topics at this forum, as well. Please submit questions to OpenForum@uhn.ca and be sure to sign a message of appreciation on the Synapse Project Kudoboard, which is open until July 15.
  • UHN's Board of Trustees held its annual general meeting (AGM) last week, where we discussed the achievements of the past year and opportunities for the future. As we stated in the opening message to the 2021-2022 Report to Our Community, both Board of Trustees Chair Brian Porter and I are proud of what has already been accomplished and excited for the new heights we will reach together as TeamUHN. Please read the 2021-2022 Report to Our Community, which includes our financial highlights. I'm hopeful that we can once again gather together for next year's AGM.
  • "Pressing the button" was only the start of a journey of discovery and adjustment for UHN using Epic. We are already discovering the remarkable power of Epic to enhance safety, save time, and improve communication — and there's much more ahead to discover. But first, we need to be patient while we fix issues during this stabilization phase and continue to adjust. I know it's been a real struggle in some areas, and I want to express my gratitude to all. In addition to individual users adjusting to new workflows, we are adjusting as an organization. With Epic in place, we need to adjust structures to support the effective use of Epic as a central tool in our clinical transformation. One example of many: work is in progress to identify necessary adjustments to the operational governance structure (i.e. Synapse Working Groups and Advisory Councils) to ensure an appropriate mix of stakeholders are involved in decisions about operational use, delivery of front-line training and education, and system enhancements.
    As has been said before, getting to go-live as smoothly as we did was a remarkable achievement that wouldn't have been possible without the tireless efforts of TeamUHN. It was an accomplishment that marked the start of the new phase of our transformational journey. We will continue to work together and put the needs of patients first as we methodically and responsibly work our way through issues and adjustments, putting the most critical and impactful at the top of the list. But we also need to rest and recover to remain strong and effective in the long run. Be assured that leadership will do what they can to allow everyone time to catch their breath and refuel their resilience this summer without jeopardizing critical work for stabilizing and adjusting to Epic.
  • With the transition to a new health information system (HIS) powered by Epic, TeamUHN members are reminded that they can only look at a patient's electronic record or chart when it is necessary to perform their duties. It is a violation of both provincial privacy law and UHN's privacy policies to look up any patient data, including demographic data, without a valid reason. Accessing the health records of family members, friends, colleagues, or even your own is not permitted, and users found to have done so can face disciplinary measures, including potential termination of employment or medical privileges. Under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, individuals who inappropriately access health records could face a fine of up to $200,000. TeamUHN members who wish to access their record can do so through the patient portal, myChart. A family member can also give a TeamUHN member permission to look at their record in myChart, but they are not permitted to use their access to Epic to search for records of family, friends, or colleagues. Patient privacy is central to our mission of providing the best possible care. Regular audits of chart access will be carried out and Epic gives UHN's Privacy Office the ability to audit with greater accuracy and frequency. For any further information please reach out to UHN Privacy at: Privacy@uhn.ca.

Closing Notes

Last week, many of us were privileged to participate in celebrations for National Indigenous Peoples Day with a full day of outdoor events at the Gitigan (garden) at the Michener Institute for Education at UHN. For the first time, a sacred fire was lit at UHN after a sunrise ceremony and I was among those who enjoyed some drumming and singing with Sara Luey in the afternoon. My deepest appreciation goes out to the Indigenous Health Program and Indigenous staff at UHN who organized the day, in partnership with the Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health at Women's College Hospital and the Toronto Central Regional – Indigenous Cancer Program.

Congratulations to Rosie Paiva on her retirement after 43 years at UHN. Rosie began her journey with UHN at age 14 by working as a file clerk in the human resources department of The Doctor's Hospital. When it merged with Toronto Western Hospital in 1996, she moved to the Pain Management Clinic and, later, the Diabetes Education Clinic. She joined the Toronto Western Family Health Team (TW FHT) in 2010, working as an administrative support clerk. She supported her team with encouragement and positivity, taking on any challenge so the team could thrive. Her colleagues say that Rosie's passion and commitment to TW FHT have been evident in everything she has touched and that she has been a dedicated employee, a mentor to new team members, and a loyal friend who is always eager to help her colleagues be successful. The TW FHT is indebted to Rosie for all of her hard work and wishes her nothing but the best in this exciting next chapter. We know that Rosie already has redecorating plans and is signing up for art and cooking classes in the fall!

Congratulations to Jennifer Palmer on her retirement after 45 years of nursing and 40 years at UHN! She graduated with a diploma in nursing in 1976 and Midwifery in 1980, working at Southern General Hospital in Scotland. Jennifer started at Toronto General in 1982 and worked in many areas before joining the Medical Day Unit in 2002, where she has been an integral part of the team. Jennifer has contributed to the key initiatives in the Medical Day Unit, presented at many conferences, and taught many nurses to become experts and feel in love with nursing. For many years she chaired the Unit Council committee, and her dedication to quality patient care has had a significant impact. Jennifer leaves a vast legacy for the nursing profession and all our patients. Jennifer's easy laughter and fierce affection for her patients will be greatly missed in the Medical Day Unit. She has been a steady presence and source of comfort to those living with sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and other red blood cell disorders, and we are grateful for her many years of service.

Last Friday was St-Jean Baptiste Day, a special holiday for our friends in Quebec and an important day of celebration for French Canadians across the country. The day commemorates the beauty of the French language and the rich culture and vibrant heritage of the Francophone communities that enrich our country. UHN is made better each day by our diverse staff. I extend my best wishes to all of the Francophone and French-Canadian members of TeamUHN.

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Have a good week,

Kevin

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