Good Monday morning,

1) Here are last week's safety highlights at UHN:  

  • Higher number of staff continuing to call in sick: This is impacting all clinical sites, specifically in Blood Bank/Transfusion, Pathology, Blood Collection as well as Anesthesia (TG specifically). For this message, I'll assume everyone knows how to protect their health – but if you'd like to learn more, you can find more information in this UHN News story.
  • Protecting patient privacy: We received some faxes after hours and patient information was left sitting out. Thank you to our colleagues in Security for spotting it during their rounds and immediately putting it away. No harm was done but we're taking action and reviewing our processes for protecting patient privacy – including how we fax. We hope the use of faxing is soon a model of the past. Privacy is one of our top priorities at UHN and is everyone's responsibility!
  • Feedback from the Ministry of Labour: Our partners in government said UHN's safety training participation is at 91% and that some nursing and scientist areas need to be improved. Emma Pavlov (Executive Vice President, HR and Organizational Development), Brad Wouters (Executive Vice President, Science & Research) and I are looking into increasing our numbers. One idea is to do some in-person Lunch & Learn sessions – but if you have other suggestions, please email us.

2) UHN was named Canada's #1 research hospital for the eighth year in a row, a title we've been proud to receive from Research Infosource Inc. every year since the rankings began in 2011. Let's have a round of applause! Research is driven by a highly competitive funding process – it's survival of the fittest – so we must take our hats off for every grant we receive. Thank you to all who help advance our important research mission and to our funders and donors for their continued support.

3) On a related note, I had the privilege of speaking about the profound benefit of research investment at the Economic Club of Canada (video here starting at 36:30, works best on Chrome or Firefox browsers) . Canada is currently a global destination of choice for scientific partnership – and UHN along with the University of Toronto is proud to play a large part in our country's success – however, we are not the destination for commercialization meaning loss of potential Canadian GDP. So, although we celebrate UHN's top research hospital distinction, we mustn't lose sight of the bigger prize and must instead encourage our policy makers to seize the opportunity within grasp. Innovations produced by research impact societal health and can improve societal wealth if (and only if) we create the conditions to capitalize on what we produce.

4) More highlights of the week included attending my first ever Michener Student awards and Gerald Kirsh Humanitarian awards at Princess Margaret. We know how important it is to empower and invest in TeamUHN – and that this will become increasingly important as we move forward – so I am glad we have frequent opportunities to recognize good work and people who go above and beyond. In addition to awards such as these, let us also remember the value of a sincere compliment or note of gratitude!

5)The time for UHN's Fall Long-Service Teas is here so let us extendhearty congratulations to all staff who are receiving their long-service pins this season. The teas started last week at Toronto Western (Nov. 5) and Princess Margaret will follow Nov. 13, Toronto General on Nov. 27. Toronto Rehab will be holding their annual ceremonies in June 2019. With regret, I'm unable to attend every tea but look forward to meeting as many of our long-serving staff as possible. What I can and must do is acknowledge the members of TeamUHN below for receiving their 40- and 45-year pins – a remarkable milestone – and add a special mention for Marie Wilson, Laboratory Medicine Administration (Toronto General) for reaching an incredible 55 years!:

Margarida Azevedo, Specimen Management (Toronto Western) – 45 years

Lorna Miller, Hematology (Princess Margaret) – 40 years

Randolene McDonald, Nutrition Services (Princess Margaret) – 45 years

Jerahmie Zelovitzky, Medical Imaging (Toronto General) – 40 years

Gabriel Labao, Patient Portering (Toronto General) – 40 years

Deborah Wilson, Physicians Secretaries (Toronto General) – 40 years

Tirone David, Surgery - Cardiovascular Surgery (Toronto General) – 40 years

6) Next, results from our Q2 scorecard are here[Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] and, if you're interested in learning more or what certain terms mean, an extended version is available here [Editor's Note: Link is no longer availa


  • Where we exceeded expectations: 93% of learners in Education would recommend doing a placement at UHN; alternate level of care (ALC) rate dropped by 17% since last quarter – meaning we're moving patients to the appropriate place faster once their acute care is complete; and we're seeing more registrations on myUHN Patient Portal than expected – 58,233 in total.
  • Where we need to improve: Deferred maintenance renewal – our efforts to repair our buildings and meet replacement needs – isn't where we had hoped to be this quarter; and patients are staying in hospital longer than we're expecting them to (see acute length of stay compared to expected length of stay) so we are working on finding the root causes.

7) Finally, an important symposium on proton therapy hosted in partnership with UHN's Princess Margaret, the University of Toronto's Department of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Care Ontario, SickKids and the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario was held last week. Canada does not currently have a hospital-based proton therapy centre and the purpose of the symposium was to familiarize those in healthcare and our partners in government with the potential it has to improve the lives of patients with cancer in Ontario. Great opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital and beyond – and an important example of combining our strengths and insights to collectively improve patient outcomes.

Have a good week,


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