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Toronto-area hospitals share expertise

Susan FitzpatrickTORONTO – The second annual InnovationEX was held at the North York General Hospital earlier this month, an event that showcased innovations produced by the Joint Centres for Transformative Healthcare Innovation. The ‘Joint Centres’ is a partnership of six large community hospitals to share innovations that improve quality and reduce costs.

The Joint Centres comprise Markham Stouffville Hospital, Mackenzie Health, Southlake Regional Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, North York General Hospital and Toronto East General Hospital.

At the event, keynote speaker Susan Fitzpatrick (pictured), Associate Deputy Minister for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, said the government this year is considering the launch of “Health Links 2.0,” to build on the success of the ministry’s Health Links program.

Health Links allows communities to create solutions for providing better care to patients with complex, chronic conditions. According to the Ministry of Health, 5% of the patients in the province fall into this category, but they account for roughly 66% of the ministry’s healthcare spending.

The province has launched 67 Health Links projects over the past two years, and Fitzgerald said they are one of the reasons the ministry has been able to operate with reduced spending in the last few years. She noted that growth in health spending has dropped to 2% annually from its former levels of 6% yearly growth.

She said the ministry is also readying a “comprehensive package of primary care and community care initiatives.”

Fitzgerald noted the ministry has been examining U.S. models for new ideas, including the Kaiser Permanente chain. While lauding Kaiser, she said there are pockets of similar expertise throughout Ontario. “If you look at all the thing Kaiser is doing, we’re also doing them in places across the province.”

She said what’s needed here is a mechanism of sharing best practices.

The annual InnovationEX is a step in that direction. InnovationEX highlighted three projects that have been shared among the partner organizations: Reducing C-Section Rates, Choosing Wisely Strategy, and the Hospital-Acquired Clostridium difficile Management Program. It also provided a forum to develop further projects to collaborate on.

The busy event showcased 12 different solutions for improving quality and value in healthcare – two from each of the partner organizations.

Mackenzie Health
• Closing the Communication Gap at Mackenzie Health: Becoming Aphasia-Friendly
As the District Stroke Centre for York Region, Mackenzie Health developed an innovative tool to help patients with aphasia overcome communication barriers and improve their care outcomes.

• Mackenzie Health’s Fracture Clinic – Breaking the Cycle
An innovative change in process to help improve wait times and communication at Mackenzie Health’s Fracture Clinic, with the ultimate goal of improving the patient experience.

Markham Stouffville Hospital
• The Grey Zone: Fighting healthcare associated infections using Nocospray Disinfection System”
Using a new, advanced technology to effectively clean and disinfect frequently used patient equipment

• Going Real Time with Patient Wait Times
Using technology to manage wait times and provide real time information to patients.

North York General Hospital
• Sustaining Quality Through an Electronic Board
Quality Boards and Quality Circles are a standardized method to review, sustain and maintain quality improvements and to discuss opportunities for continuous improvement. The Quality Board is a physical board which displays information with respect to quality, safety, patient experience and staff engagement.

In 2014, the Clinical Team Manager 8W envisioned an electronic Quality Board using a TV monitor. Supported by the Medicine Program and Patient Experience & Quality, a monitor was purchased and a PDSA conducted. The outcome of the PDSA identified that an electronic Quality Board is a new and innovative way of displaying metrics, providing up to date information, engaging staff in discussions and quality improvement, and communicating with patients and families the quality, safety and patient experience of the unit. As a result of the PDSA, electronic quality boards are being rolled out across the inpatient areas.

• Baruch/Weisz Outpatient Care Clinic
A model of multi-service, interprofessional ambulatory care.

Toronto East General Hospital
• Patient Videos: Engaging patients in change
How do we meaningfully engage patients in change? How do we understand the patient perspective? How do we empower the patient voice and create a culture of patient centered care?

Since 2011, Toronto East General Hospital has captured over 150 unique patient experiences through its Patient Video Program. These videos have been instrumental in grounding staff with the realities of patient care and providing a human face to our metrics and strategies. Patient videos are filmed with the intent of capturing the complex interplay of services and interactions which influence the patient experience. By empowering patients the PV process allows the firsthand account, experience and insights of the patient to facilitate the development of a ‘just culture’ and drive micro and macro level patient centred improvements.

• Partnering with a mobile patient engagement solution to improve surgical outcomes for thoracic patients at TEGH
TEGH partnered with Seamless MD who developed a patient-friendly solution leveraging smartphone, tablet and computer technology to better educate and engage our thoracic patients throughout their complicated journey with their surgery. Results from our pilot project with Seamless MD showed a dramatic reduction in same-day surgery cancellations, high patient satisfaction and better collection of patient satisfaction data.

Southlake Regional Health Centre
• Healthcare Ecosphere
Overview of pipelines into the Southlake’s innovation centre, CreateIT Now at Southlake.

• Workplace Violence Prevention – A Collaboration between Hospitals and Unions, (in collaboration with Toronto East General and the Ontario Nurses’ Association)
Enhancing healthcare system capacity to effectively manage workplace violence is made possible by collaboration with key stakeholders. Sharing knowledge and expertise with other healthcare institutions facilitates more efficient adoption of best practice and continuous improvement

St. Joseph’s Health Centre
• Patient experience email survey
Faced with low response rates, we innovated the way we collected patient satisfaction information by switching from a traditional mail-based print survey to an online email survey. Patients provide their emails at the point of registration and are sent an online survey link within one week of their visit. This change has resulted in an increased response rate, decreased turnaround time for data collection & analysis, a significant cost decrease per survey and greater engagement on satisfaction data by clinical leaders.

• Vaccinate and/or Mask policy and campaign
Each year 1 in 6 unvaccinated healthcare workers gets influenza. To protect our staff, patients and community, we implemented a policy and campaign that gave physicians and staff the option to get vaccinated, wear a mask or do both to protect themselves and the people around them. This resulted in our highest ever level of vaccination at 81% compared to 57% in 2013/14 and 40% in 2012/13.

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