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

  • I was honoured to join Christine Elliott, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Brian Porter, Chair of UHN's Board of Trustees and President of Scotiabank, and our colleagues at Toronto Western Hospital last Tuesday as Minister Elliott announced a $38.8 million investment in UHN. The funding represents one of the largest planning grants in the province's history, with $34 million allocated for an 11-storey New Patient Tower at TWH and $4.8 million for expansions at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, including for a new unit for the Stem Cell Transplant Program. This was one of Minister Elliott's final public events before she retires from politics and I was happy to thank her for her hard work and partnership, especially during the challenges of the pandemic. Read the story at UHN News for more on this exciting announcement.
  • A hearty congratulations to Thomas Forbes on his appointment as UHN's next Surgeon-in-Chief. Thomas joined UHN in 2014 and, for the last four years, has served as the R. Fraser Elliott Chair and Division Head of Vascular Surgery. He is also a professor and Chair of the Division of Vascular Surgery in the Department of Surgery – Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Thomas has a sterling reputation in scholarship, mentorship, and leadership and we are incredibly excited to welcome him to this position, starting July 1.
  • UHN's Board of Trustees met for an all-day retreat last week for a frank, productive discussion about healthcare system reform – an apt topic given the many pressures of the pandemic. We heard thought-provoking presentations from Jaime Watt, trustee and Executive Chairman at Navigator, on Canadians' views and future expectations on healthcare; David Naylor, founding CEO and Scientist Emeritus at ICES and former President of the University of Toronto, on aligning incentives and integrating models of care and funding for better and more efficient healthcare; and Peter Wallace, trustee and former Secretary to the Treasury Board, on the personal perspectives of all levels of government in healthcare reform. The Management team was charged with taking this away and bringing back a synthesis to support the Board's actions.
  • In five weeks' time, UHN will be using Epic. The implementation is a milestone that has been years in the making and marks the start of a major clinical transformation for patients and TeamUHN. While current circumstances brought on by the pandemic are not ideal, implementing Epic is essential to patient safety. The current state of multiple systems and paper charts poses risks that are no longer acceptable. A safe and effective transition to Epic requires collaboration, resourcefulness, compassion, and — more than ever in these closing weeks — clear focus on critical activities. Cross-functional leadership keeps a steady eye on risks and issues, sets priorities, and uses a variety of tactics and mechanisms to help progress the work while balancing the challenges of maintaining quality patient care and TeamUHN's wellbeing. Together, we will achieve this milestone and soon after begin experiencing the benefits of UHN's future state.

What happened at the Senior Management Forum meeting

UHN's Senior Management Forum (SMF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. SMF meets monthly. The last SMF meeting was held on April 28, 2022.

Synapse update

  • Background and why this was brought to SMF: The Synapse project is entering the home stretch for implementing a new health information system (HIS) from Epic. Staff who schedule patient appointments and scheduled orders will start using Epic on May 16 for new appointments that will occur on June 4 or later. On June 4, Epic will go-live across the enterprise. Key project leaders provided an update to the Senior Management Forum on recent readiness activities and training for thousands of TeamUHN members.
  • Who Presented? Chelsea King (Change Management and Benefit Realizations Lead) and Ivanka Hanley(Sr. Manager, Training & Education)
  • What do I need to know:

    Readiness activities:

    • The Synapse Patient Access Working Group hosted Patient Flow Days on April 20-22, which featured 11 sessions and 16 demonstrations of integrated workflows for patients moving through the system, as well as discussions with experts. More than 500 people attended the kick-off session. Recordings are available on the Synapse site, as is the Patient Flow Guide.
    • Concurrent Charting – a process to practice charting in Epic and compare to the current process – started in early April in cardiology, anesthesia and surgical services. Throughout May, the activity will be available in additional procedural areas. Participation in Concurrent Charting is a high-value practice exercise and is strongly encouraged for Super Users. More information is available here.
    • The Epic Playground is available 24/7 for end users to get comfortable with the Epic environment before training and practice workflows after training. Drop-in sessions are held every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday for anyone needing help accessing the Playground or with questions about functionality or workflows in Epic. Information about how to access Playground, join a drop-in session, and more is on the Playground page.


    • More than 4,800 end users have completed training. The limit on attempts to pass the End User Proficiency Assessment has been removed. Reminder: all staff must come to training prepared by completing pre-training e-Learnings and ensuring their computer meets technical requirements.

    What's ahead:

    • A 30-Day Go-Live Readiness Assessment (GLRA) will be held on Wednesday, May 4. This is the last formal GLRA, where operational and project team representatives will give updates on workstreams and issues to resolve.
    • Super-User Prep Sessions will be held between May 30-June 3 for Super Users to learn everything they need to know to feel ready and confident for go-live. There will be five sessions and they will be recorded.

Closing Notes

    This week is National Hospice Palliative Care Week. According to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, the theme this week – "Living in Colour" – represents how each person deserves a vibrant life from beginning to the end. We are privileged to have exceptional colleagues in our Palliative Care program, including physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, spiritual care professionals, social workers, and other interdisciplinary team members, who help patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses enhance their quality of life. They provide compassionate support across Princess Margaret, Toronto General, Toronto Western, Toronto Rehab, and Kensington Hospice. Palliative care is about more than the end of someone's life and involves easing suffering with pain and symptom management, advance care planning, and psychosocial and spiritual support.

    This week is also Emergency Preparedness Week, a time for Canadians to think about how they can ensure they are always ready to respond to any unexpected situation. The theme of "Be Ready for Anything" is a reminder to keep preparedness top of mind at work, home, and in the community. We are grateful for UHN's Emergency Preparedness department, which is diligently focused on the safety and security of TeamUHN members. For guidance on how you can better prepare for emergencies, please review UHN's Personal Preparedness at a Glance poster.

    Today marks the start of Heart Failure Awareness Week, an opportunity to recognize the exceptional work being done every day at UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC). Right now, 750,000 Canadians are living with heart failure, and more than 100,000 are newly diagnosed cases each year. While heart failure is no longer a death sentence, there is no cure. But there are treatments to help patients live longer, with a better quality of life than ever before. Our experts at PMCC are at the forefront of heart failure patient care, research, and education. The Heart Function Program, led by Dr. Heather Ross, is Canada's premier treatment centre for patients living with this chronic condition. PMCC is known for developing new and innovative techniques, patient care devices, and technologies, to improve the duration and quality of life for patients. PMCC also runs a robust, internationally recognized fellowship program to ensure the next generation of heart failure experts. Like many chronic conditions, living well with heart failure requires the combined efforts of the patient, their support system, and their healthcare providers. To the members of TeamUHN who are an integral piece of this puzzle, thank you for your extraordinary work and dedication to our heart failure patients and their families.

    May is Vision Health Month, a time to raise awareness about sight loss and eye health. One in seven Canadians will develop a serious eye disease in their lifetime, but 75% of vision loss could be prevented or treated with proper care, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists. At UHN's Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, clinicians and researchers are working together to improve and restore sight for patients living with blindness and vision impairments, using trailblazing technology and treatments. Learn more about the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute and the transformative work it is doing.


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Have a good week,


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