Toronto (June 11, 2007) - Tackling some of the toughest issues in healthcare today, University Health Network has won a prestigious national award for creating unique and sustainable solutions to improve patient flow, ultimately reducing wait times and improving access to Emergency Departments.

Sponsored by 3M and the Canadian College of Health Service Executives, the annual 3M Health Care Quality Team Awards recognize projects with proven outcomes and teamwork which create significant and sustained change within an organization.

University Health Network (UHN) won the award for its Emergency – General Internal Medicine Transformation Project, consisting of framework that ensures care is well-coordinated, seamless and standardized from admission to discharge across the three hospital sites. More than 200 clinicians and multiple community partners teamed up with a project management team from Shared Information Management Services (SIMS), the information management and technology department for UHN, to implement the multi-faceted project.

"The early success of the two-year project has been due in large part to the dedication and collaborative work of many staff, physicians and project team members from many disciplines from the Toronto Western and Toronto General Hospitals," said Dr. Bob Bell, President and CEO of University Health Network.

This is the most comprehensive, complex and far-reaching initiative UHN has undertaken in years. Examples of the project's successes include:

  • Bridgepoint Health Assessment Teams attended medical rounds on UHN's General Internal Medicine floor, identifying patients who may be appropriate for their rehabilitation services or continuing care. Outcome: 160% increase in patients transferred to Bridgepoint;
  • Increased availability of ultrasound equipment to 18 hours a day, seven days a week in Emergency. Outcome: 46% decrease in time from ordering the test to getting results;
  • Prior to the project, up to 21% of a nurse's time was spent on searching for equipment and supplies or coping with equipment breakdown (about one full day every two weeks). Using an approach from Toyota which emphasizes sustainability and working together to improve the environment, staff sorted, decluttered and organized their environment so that less time is spent searching for or repairing equipment: 72% decrease in time searching at TGH and 44% decrease at TWH.

About Shared Information Management Services

Shared Information Management Services (SIMS) is the information management and technology partnership between nine health care organizations in the Greater Toronto Area. With similar values, these organizations commit to identifying, planning and implementing joint initiatives that will contribute to a coordinated and integrated health care delivery system.

About University Health Network

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in transplantation, cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and genomic medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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