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Good Monday morning,

I'll start with last week in safety at UHN: 

  • We continued to manage our issue of delayed and missing medical supplies from Plexxus, the service responsible for distributing them. The issue is impacting all sites now. Thank you to our staff for managing the needs of our patients and colleagues so diligently. I've called the CEO of Plexxus and we are seeking solutions. 
  • Druxy's at Princess Margaret was closed by Toronto Public Health after a case of listeria was traced back to that specific location. While this issue is under the jurisdiction of Toronto Public Health, it is distressing to hear this news and we are reexamining our relationships with our vendors to ensure their practices align with our commitment to safety at UHN.
  • I'll also remind everyone of the limitations of standard disinfection wipes and that Clorox is the only hospital disinfectant that works against C. difficile. Some related issues surfaced at UHN last week – I understand there are challenges with using Clorox on certain types of imaging equipment – and I encourage everyone to continue working with our colleagues at IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) to maintain best practices for infection control. 
  • And now, see our week of good catches here.    

Next, some good news about our clinical transformation supported by a new Health Information System (HIS): our journey for a new system to support the care and research of tomorrow has officially started! 

  • We've sent out our Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ), a step to pre-qualify potential HIS suppliers. Responses are due within the next few weeks and then we'll start an intensive process of evaluation. A new HIS was identified repeatedly in my orientation rounds of UHN of frontline staff's top need.  
  • For those wondering where the term "Clinical Information System" went, we know care extends well beyond the acute and rehab phases and is really meant to improve patient health. This was further highlighted in the development of our RFSQ thus we are consciously moving to HIS. 
  • Thank you to our Board, IT Executive Committee, Clinical Leadership, UHN Digital and Procurement for moving this vital work forward.

This news was shared at last week's Open Forum. Thank you to those who were able to attend and for submitting and voting on questions. 

  • The question with the most votes was "…you assured us…leaders who don't live by UHN's values would be 'relieved' of their stress of working here. Can you please give us an update?" For those who weren't able to make it, you can see my response and the full Open Forum at this link. I won't repeat myself here but will emphasize that we must create consistency between our actions and words and demonstrate that living our values is inextricably linked with succeeding at UHN. That starts with feedback and support to change and ensuring we all live UHN's primary value - the needs of patients come first. 
  • Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts. Written responses to all questions will be posted on our new Q&A page here.

I've heard from our nurses that staffing is one of their biggest concerns. We know we run the risk of less-than-ideal patient experiences when staffing doesn't match our patient care requirements – and that the likelihood of poor quality of work life is increased when this is the case – so we are addressing this with our new Acuity-Based Staffing tool. 

  • This tool, which assesses the acuity of each patient, is tried and true, used in many hospitals in Ontario and widely across the U.K., and will help ensure we're delivering care with staffing matched to our patients' needs while optimizing our staffing resources. I'll be very honest though – broadly speaking, we don't have additional undeployed resources for staffing and we ran a small deficit in our last quarter. For new investments, we will have to work with the LHIN and Ministry to demonstrate the need for more overall resources as well as explore other creative solutions. But no team is more creative or more innovative than TeamUHN! 
  • We will be using the Acuity-Based Staffing tool in our acute care settings – this tool doesn't assess rehabilitation settings so we'll need a different system for our Toronto Rehab campuses – and look forward to working with our Clinical Directors and Managers to ensure we're creating a safe, high quality environment for all. 
  • Thank you to Joy Richards, Karen Martin, Brenda Perkins Meingast, Jennifer DeSousa, Jonas Eriksson and Lori Seeton for leading this work, along with the valued support of our assessors and the Directors of Professional Practice.

I also toured our Laboratory Medicine Program (LMP) and had the pleasure of meeting two staff members with more than 100 years of service combined between them. Thank you Marie Wilson and Berit Cameron for sharing your secrets on leading a long, successful career at UHN. I'm keeping those in my back pocket! It was especially great to meet with the LMP group again – I joined their strategic planning retreat prior to my first day at UHN and learned about their vision to be Canada's premier academic laboratory medicine program. Based on what I saw in my tour, I have no doubt they're well on their way. 

Finally, I had the opportunity to attend a number of celebrations and recognition events including: Congratulating Toronto Rehab Foundation on the success of their $100 million Where Incredible Happens campaign; a dinner to honour the remarkable Jim Leech, who is passing the torch as Chair of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation; attending the 3rd annual Krembil Nursing Awards Showcase; the opportunity to participate in a remarkable Indigenous history lesson alongside colleagues in Human Resources and CAP (Collaborative Academic Practice) through a blanket exercise co-organized by our Indigenous Council at UHN; and a dinner to celebrate Gaétan Tardif, who is retiring as UHN's Physiatrist-in-Chief at Toronto Rehab and leaving behind a lasting legacy.  

Thanks for reading,

Kevin​

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