Good Tuesday morning,

I hope everyone had a relaxing long Canada Day weekend. Thank you to our colleagues who worked so others could spend time with their loved ones.

Congratulations to Ontario's new Premier Doug Ford and newly sworn-in Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) Christine Elliott. I'm also pleased to welcome Helen Angus back to the MOHLTC as Deputy Minister. We are ready to work in alignment with their priorities.

Many of you are waiting for UHN to determine our future directions regarding our Health Information System.

  • Dr. David Jaffray (Executive Vice President, Technology & Innovation) and I are working along the shortest path possible to make decisions that empower staff with improved access to and management of our electronic patient records – and increasingly how we will use data from our Health Information System to drive predictive analytics for patients at risk and to superpower our clinical research.
  • We're all seeking clarity, simplicity and outcomes and this area is at the top of the list.

I've been visiting a unit at least once a day to get a better sense of what some of our staff are facing. One area I keep returning to is our Emergency Departments (ED), so I was grateful to be invited to meet our emergency medicine group. What I heard was not surprising but the discussion was serious and stays on my mind. Here are a couple of takeaways:

  • Most of our patients come through our EDs, so that's where they get their first impression of UHN. For many, it's their only point of contact with us. Our EDs are also the place which matter most to people when they need access to care in an urgent situation. The EDs are the 'front door' of the hospital and need our respect and gratitude for always being there for every patient who comes to them.
  • Our EDs and General Internal Medicine floors face pressures every day and we are working to ensure our inpatient bed numbers are adequate to meet the needs of our patients and keep our Emergency Rooms functioning.

While there are challenges, I also know there is much to celebrate at UHN. Allow me to continue highlighting our Local Impact Award nominees and some of what was said by their colleagues.

  • Tele-rehabilitation Centre for Acquired Brain Injury Team: The Cognitive Neurorehabilitation Sciences lab of Toronto Rehab revealed a critical gap in patient care, discovering that brain-injured patients were declining in cognition, mood and brain health. To address this gap and provide scalability and reach across the province, the centre uses telemedicine as its vehicle for delivery. Thank you to Dr. Robin Green and Brenda Colella, Liesel Meusel, Marika Dabek, Greg Noack and Lily Miguel-Jaimes.
  • Salima Ladak: Salima is a Nurse Practitioner based at Toronto General for UHN's acute pain service and coordinator for UHN's Pain APN network. Salima is relentless when it comes to patient safety and participates in numerous projects such as getting better working PCA Pumps and creating safer order sets for prescriptions.
  • SarahRose Black: SarahRose provides music therapy to patients, families and staff at Princess Margaret. Her colleague recognizes her talent and wisdom, as well as her ability to combine words and music, allowing patients to create their own narrative which leads to legacy and healing.
  • Toronto Western Inpatient Pharmacy: Staff pharmacists Jason Volling, Safiya Ladak and Irene Soltys are dedicated to medication safety. Their ideas followed by their participation and leadership of the medication incident review team (a subgroup of the local Toronto Western Hospital Safe Medication Practice Committee) has resulted in the identification of beneficial practice changes and system improvements throughout UHN.

I often see patients, staff and visitors sitting outside and it is important that our grounds are as well cared for as we can manage. We can all surely do our part to support a positive, healing environment for our community. I'll share a habit of mine that I hope you'll consider: Pick up at least one piece of trash if you spot it while making your way around UHN. And if you're concerned about hand hygiene, I know UHN has many hand sanitizing stations. Use Purell liberally!

I was proud to see some of our cutting-edge research featured in two excellent documentaries:

  • CBC's "The Mind Moves in Mysterious Ways" explores work coming from Toronto Rehab that's helping paralyzed Canadians regain movement in their limbs. Congratulations to Dr. Milos Popovic (Toronto Rehab's Research Director) and his team for the recognition.
  • Discovery U.S. also released "This Is A.I." featuring Drs. Lorraine Kalia and Connie Marras of Krembil Research Institute. Terrific international profile. Watch it here [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available].

Last week saw former Deputy Minister Dr. Bob Bell's retirement tea in the De Gasperis Conservatory. Bob's Ministry colleagues hosted this important celebration in recognition of his four years at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as Ontario's Deputy Minister. On behalf of UHN, we thank Bob for devoting so much of his career to our organization and to Ontario's health system.

Finally, I invite you to join me at my first Open Forum at UHN (Thursday, July 12, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Michener auditorium). Livestreaming will be available here. If there are any specific topics you'd like to talk about, please feel free to email me in advance.

Thanks for reading,

Kevin

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