Creating new possibilities for transformative change

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The health care system needs transformative change. That’s not a platitude or a pie-in-the-sky aspiration. That’s today’s reality for health leaders who face year-over-year budget constraints while supporting a system that is innovative, compassionate and provides superior care. But how do you manage and implement transformative change – today?

Transformation is defined as making a radical change for the better. Radical re-invention is what sets transformation apart from everyday, garden variety change. Change is about fixing the past, transformation is about building the future.

I know most health care leaders regard transformational change as urgent and necessary.  That’s because the status quo is not working – our organizations are facing big challenges every day. I also  respect the extraordinary efforts that our frontline staff, physicians and volunteers are making to meet those challenges. But those heroics are not sustainable.

For that reason, Hamilton Health Sciences is revisiting its strategic goals this year. We’re refreshing our plan to focus on the changes that we can implement today which will have the greatest impact on building a strong, sustainable system for tomorrow. We’re also looking for ways to empower our frontline staff to be problem-solvers who can make change happen quickly and support the improvement of the patient experience in our facilities.  

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Our transformation agenda is based on an understanding that health care must be nimble in its ability to change and keep pace with the needs of its community. Change has to be an integral part of near-term decisions, not a far away aspiration. But it also must be done in a very strategic fashion, focussed on the prize of an innovative, compassionate, high-quality patient experience.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says its priority is “to make Ontario the healthiest place in North America to grow up and grow old.” That’s an ambitious goal that can’t be achieved unless we harness the talents of all our healthcare workers on a daily basis.

It’s not enough to simply cut costs. In the last seven years, Hamilton Health Sciences has taken $100 million out of its budget. But the pressures to do more continue to increase. It’s becoming harder and harder to find new savings. It’s clear that now is the time, more than ever, to reshape our current model of care. We’re doing this by using the tools and resources that we already have, and by leveraging existing and potential partnerships across our community and region. In the midst of financial challenge, we’re looking for new opportunities to affect the way people receive health care in our communities, for the better.

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As hospitals, we can and should reach beyond our walls to help create new opportunities for collaboration with other agencies. Our shared goal must be to build and sustain a seamless healthcare system. At Hamilton Health Sciences we’re connecting the dots for our patients to ensure they receive the care they need, where they need it, and when they need it.

The fact is, Canadian health care as we know it, will not survive unless everyone’s efforts and resources are carefully aligned. Community Health Links, Ontario’s initiative to care for patients with complex needs, is a great example of that kind of shared solution, and Hamilton Health Sciences is happy to be participating in Health Links in our community.

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By 2016, we’ll have introduced many exciting new developments that have been designed as models within this movement of seamless, sustainable care. In May, we broke ground on the future McMaster Children’s Health Centre, which will host an array of children’s outpatient services in a welcoming, integrative environment designed for and with the input of children and their families. In June, in partnership with McMaster University, we celebrated the opening of the Boris Clinic at McMaster University Medical Centre – one of the first adult ambulatory clinics in Canada to combine a wide range of specialty care clinicians, teaching and research under one roof. This fall, we’ll unveil the new CIBC Breast Assessment Centre at Juravinski Hospital & Cancer Centre, poised to be the most advanced and comprehensive breast cancer assessment centre in the region.

The spirit behind these advancements, and indeed behind all other transformational initiatives, is to put patients at the centre of everything we do. That’s another goal in Hamilton Health Sciences’ strategic plan, and in the plans of many other hospitals. We all understand that caring matters most and, through transformational change, we can improve patient care and quality of life for everyone we serve, today and into the future.

 

To learn more about how Hamilton Health Sciences is preparing for its future, today, see our latest Community Report, available at hhsc.ca.