​Today I want to begin to briefly outline one important goal that we will share over the next 10 years.  UHN will to become a High Reliability Organization (HRO), a term that you are going to hear increasingly throughout the organization in the coming months. What this means is that we share a commitment and a goal to reduce preventable patient harm to zero. This has been already accomplished in many industries – aviation and nuclear power for example. Increasingly, high performing health care organizations like UHN are working to become HROs through a series of changes that include a relentless focus on quality, safety, and elimination of hospital acquired conditions that are preventable.

Quality and safety must become every person's focus and responsibility. It means that when we see a situation that might be harmful to a patient or employee, anyone can call it without fear and that we work together to eliminate the risk.

From what I have learned and seen so far at UHN, we're starting from a great place!  We already have a strong foundation that includes:

  • UHN Board of Trustees focus on Quality and Safety
  • Senior Management Team consistent engagement around quality and safety
  • Established Quality committees and teams that focus on safety
  • An incident management system that has been in place for some time now which means that we have data over a number of years.
  • The encouragement of all staff to report incidents
  • Review at the most senior level of all severe and critical incidents
  • A Patient Relations group which has a wealth of data about incidents in the organization
  • An emphasis on inter-professional teams
  • Transparency as an underlying tenet
  • Our Lean work that is grounded in a focus in the patient

Over the coming months, you will be hearing more about our plans to build on this strong foundation to become a High Reliability Organization.​ Over time, this will involve all of us at UHN and the beneficiaries of this will be the patients that we serve together through our clinical, research, and educational mission.


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