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Good Monday morning,

I hope everyone’s having a great summer. I’m taking some time off before the season winds down completely and will resume the weekly update on Sept. 9. My attempt to unplug! Thank you in advance to those who are working the Labour Day long weekend in service of patients and families.  

1. Highlights on UHN's Essentials

UHN’s Essentials are essential to the work we do as a leading academic health sciences centre – hence the name! Read here to learn more. Below, you’ll find highlights on UHN’s Essentials from last week. 

People and Culture  Thanks to Brad Wouters (Executive Vice President, Science & Research) for taking on the role of Interim Executive Sponsor while we re-examine our structure and recruit our Vice-President/Chief Information Officer; Some great news for the newly formed Ontario Health - Mike Nader (Executive Vice President, Clinical Support & Performance) has accepted a 2 year secondment to Ontario Health as their Interim Chief Transformation Officer. Brad will take on this important expanded role as we look at how best to position digital and the other important services in this portfolio and how our overall structure helps drive our strategic plan. Thanks to Brad for doing this! Last week I sent a note to everyone about Mike Nader’s secondment to Ontario Health. As the province works on establishing Ontario Health, I have no doubt this important agency will benefit from Mike’s wealth of experience.  As his time and new responsibilities allow, he will still be involved in some key projects at UHN and we are now recruiting for a two-year secondment for his replacement.  

Compassionate Care and Caring  Last week, I was proud to receive my first UHN recognition star from a patient. Always nice to receive recognition from colleagues and especially humbling to receive it from those we are privileged to serve. As members of TeamUHN, you all have the ability to recognize your colleagues with star pins. If you see someone go above and beyond in service of patients and families (whether it be across care, research or education), send them a recognition star by filling out this form. Never hesitate to compliment someone on their contributions – the key is to be specific and authentic!  

Technology  Phishing scams becoming more sophisticated – reminder to be vigilant: In a previous weekly update, I mentioned a series of fraudulent emails that went out under my name (but not my UHN email address) which asked recipients to buy a series of gift cards. Sadly this is a scam and an easily convincing one which has since become more sophisticated. The email address used matched my UHN one (kevin.smith@uhn.ca). The dangers of modern times! If you receive any suspicious requests, please remember to forward to our Digital Security team at spam@uhn.ca. Also, never make purchases based on an unusual e-mail request.  If something seems out of the ordinary, always check with a colleague! 

2. Changing care models at Toronto Rehab 

Last week I sent out a message about our overall deficit after the first quarter, which is a challenge for all of us.  That was followed later in the week by two changes in models of care at Toronto Rehab which meant a reduction of in the number of positions and beds.  I’ve included the last paragraph from Sue Jewell and Mark Bayley’s message here as they voice the necessity of changing care models to meet patient needs, balancing the budget and supporting our colleagues.  I echo their comment that we will do everything we can to minimize the impacts on affected staff.

“These changes will align services to match patient needs, will help us achieve a balanced budget and are the right approaches to care for our patients.  That said, we fully appreciate that this is difficult news for some of our colleagues to hear.  UHN has notified their local Unions and will respect all conditions laid out in the contracts.  UHN is a large organization and every effort will be made to identify options that will minimize the impacts on affected staff.  Thank you for your expertise and dedication to our patients, and to your colleagues, particularly during these times of evolving care models, economic pressure and change.”

3. What I like most about this year’s UHN Research Report 

Most of us know that UHN is Canada’s largest research hospital – but if you’re curious about the advancements we’ve made lately in service of patients, families and the health sciences, take a look at UHN’s 2019 Research Report. What I like in particular is how it highlights the importance of the whole team, which includes trainees and research staff in addition to the scientists. Everything we accomplish at UHN is thanks to the collective efforts of many different people – hence our TeamUHN name – and it’s great to see that recognized in this report. Special thanks to our donor community and three Foundations for their essential support. Look at page 40-41 of the report to see a beautiful visualization of how they fund and fuel A Healthier World. 

4. Learning about a patient’s journey in UHN’s Patient Engagement Annual Report   

Here is our inaugural Patient Engagement Annual Report which highlights our most important partnership at UHN – the one we have with patients, families and caregivers. Kudos to the Patient Experience team for their creative approach. The report is framed around the journey of a fictional patient named Dev so it’s easy to get an overview of the services, resources and opportunities for feedback we offer at UHN. Essential we continuously learn from those we serve and that we co-design care with them. Thank you to our colleagues in Patient Experience for leading these initiatives so that clinical colleagues are better supported as they deliver high quality, safe compassionate care and caring every day.  

5. What we discussed at our Executive Leadership Forum meeting 

Here is what we discussed at last week’s Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) meeting. See who attends these meetings on UHN.ca

  • Out-of-province lab testing (Catherine Wang, Vice President – Clinical Operations and Diagnostic Partnerships; Vathany Kulasingam, Deputy Head, Clinical Biochemistry; Tom Clancy, Director of Care/Transfusion Medicine Laboratories): UHN is Ontario’s most acute hospital which means we deliver highly specialized care – and in many cases we are the only centre in the province that provides certain services. Even so, some patients require highly specific lab testing that isn’t performed anywhere in Ontario meaning they have to be sent elsewhere, which can be costly. Given our need to address a serious financial deficit plus our alignment with the Government of Ontario’s desire to balance, we discussed possible approaches to this issue. Discoveries through research bring new methods, drugs and technologies into care so these types of issues are something we will continue to manage.
  • Patient Declaration of Values (Laura Williams, Director of Patient Engagement; Joy Richards, Chief Health Professions and Vice President of Patient Experience): In partnership with many of UHN’s valued Patient Partners, our Patient Engagement team has refreshed UHN’s Patient Declaration of Values. This set of values will serve as a guide for how we can design and deliver care that reflects patient and caregiver needs. Much more to come once the details are finalized.  
  • Strategy Forum update (Aubrey Chiu, Senior Corporate Planner – Corporate Management Office): Thanks to the valued input of patients, partners and TeamUHN, we’ve completed UHN’s 2019-23 Strategic Plan and are now asking programs and departments to work on their own plans in alignment with our overarching strategy. To help provide some guidance, we brought together a highly engaged group of TeamUHN members known as our Strategy Forum. In this ELF update, we learned the Strategy Forum members have received their orientation and are ready to meet with various program areas over the next year. All in-scope areas have been scheduled throughout 2019/20 to present. First quarterly meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Have a good two weeks,  

Kevin


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