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Drs. Pisters and Jaffray at laptop
UHN President and CEO, Dr. Peter Pisters, (L) and Dr. David Jaffray, EVP Technology & Innovation, will host a series of IT Transformation Town Halls, which begin on Friday and continue in January (Photo: UHN)

When we think about the future of UHN, and healthcare as a whole, most of us can only begin to imagine what's possible.  Digital technology will have a tremendous impact on what this looks and feels like.

"UHN is on an exploratory journey of all things digital," says Dr. David Jaffray, UHN's EVP Technology & Innovation. "The journey is not about simply adopting digital technologies but rather changing the way we work in response to the nature of the digital world."

UHN is halfway through year one of its IT Transformation. The "Discovery & Design" phase is complete and the "Change" phase is well underway.

"It was so exciting to bring together IT leaders from across UHN and start to talk about how we could do things differently," Dr. Jaffray says. 

Co-design workshops were held to bring together experts from across all three domains - clinical, research and education - with each contributing to the new IT Operating Model that w​ould be designed and implemented.

"People were excited to be part of the co-design, and had great ideas on how working together we could do things in a new way," Dr. Jaffray says, reflecting on the co-designs of 2016 and looking ahead to the coming year. "We have some great co-designs planned for 2017."

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The next few months will be focused on bringing our skilled IT staff together - building a new team at UHN that is designed to support the entire needs of the organization and foster local innovation.

As UHN undergoes these changes, there will be profound impact to the organization. The transformation will bring teams together, and allow for new and innovative ways to support clinical, education and research needs, as well as patient needs both in and out of hospital.

"This is a foundational change for UHN that will digitally enhance our fundamental purpose and allow us to compete with global high profile academic medical centres that are already on this path," says Dr. Peter Pisters, UHN's President and CEO. "Bringing our IT expertise together as one team will enable us to more rapidly respond to emerging technologies and build a stronger digital future for UHN and the patients we serve."

Drs. Pisters and Jaffray will host a series of UHN IT Transformation Town Halls to tell more about the new team, the new brand, the visual identity for that brand and UHN's digital future. The events are planned as follows:

  • Friday, Dec. 16th at Toronto General: 3:00 to 4:00pm, Peter Munk building, 4th floor, DeGasperis Conservatory
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11th at Toronto Western: 10:30am to 11:30am, BMO Education & Conference Centre
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11th at Princess Margaret: 3:00 to 4:00pm, 6th​ floor, Auditorium (Room 604)​
  • Thursday, Jan. 12th at Toronto Rehab - UC: 2:30 to 3:30pm, 2nd floor, Auditorium

The IT Transformation, which started in April of this year, came about as the result of several Information Technology initiatives that started as far back as 2013.

In 2013, UHN investigated the procurement of an enterprise wide, single electronic patient record system. In early 2015, the decision was made to not proceed with the procurement as the cost was financially prohibitive and there were emerging alternative technology opportunities in the ever-changing digital world. 

After that decision, UHN's state of technology was assessed, and areas for improvement were identified. With early learnings about the state of UHN's Information Technology (IT), the IT Transformation initiative became a UHN focus area to build the foundation for a digital world.

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