Like many other hospitals across the province, William Osler Health System (Osler) is in the throes of a busy fall season. Between our strategic planning efforts, hospital redevelopment activities, milestone anniversary preparations and ongoing work to enhance service excellence across the organization, we have entered into a very dynamic and exciting time that never ceases to keep our staff, physicians and volunteers on their toes.
First up for Osler this fall was Accreditation. Following an eight-week long ramp-up period to help get the organization thinking about how exactly we deliver the very best in patient care, we welcomed our Accreditation Canada survey team to Osler for four intense days in early October. Our preparations clearly paid off because just two weeks after the surveyors’ visit, we had word that Osler had received Accreditation Canada’s highest honour – Accreditation with Exemplary Standing. We are obviously thrilled with the results, particularly given that only a small group of hospitals in Canada achieve this leading designation immediately following the onsite survey.
What made this great achievement even more meaningful for Osler and its community was that the results were shared with us just as we were set to enter into a week-long celebration of our hospitals’ milestone anniversaries – 40 years for Etobicoke General and five years for Brampton Civic. During a number of memorable and creative public events that were planned across the hospital sites, we had the unique opportunity to share and celebrate our successes with our staff, physicians and volunteers, as well as our patients and their families.
It wasn’t that many years ago that people might have said that a success like this for Osler would be unachievable or even impossible. We have certainly come a long way in the last five years and though we have had our ups and downs, we have learned many valuable lessons along the way. This has helped us to focus clearly on some key priorities for the organization which support Osler’s mission to provide safe and compassionate care to our community.
As Ontario’s largest community hospital, we serve a population of over 1.3 million people living in one of the fastest growing and most culturally diverse regions in Canada. Our emergency departments are among the busiest in the province and our labour and delivery program is the largest in the Greater Toronto area.
With our growing and diverse community always at top of mind, we have made ‘service excellence’ a key driver behind everything we do. At Osler, service excellence represents the softer side of health care – the human touch that can often make or break a great hospital experience.
Over this past year, we put a great deal of effort into continuing to build relationships with the community we serve and to interact with them in new and different ways.
Through some simple phone calls, made to almost 9,000 patients within 48 hours of their stay, we have heard first-hand from our patients about their experience at our hospitals. As a result, we have been able to make significant improvements to the way we deliver care across our organization.
This ground-breaking initiative has allowed us to use patient feedback to improve and enhance the services we provide, and ensure that we continue to deliver quality care that respects the traditions, religion and culture of our patients and their families.
Since the initiative was launched just over a year ago, compliments are up 100%, patients have been phoning or writing to say how much they appreciate the call, and when an issue or concern has been identified – managers have been able to address situations immediately.
Through initiatives like these, in combination with our other community relations efforts, we are continuing to keep our community at the heart of our hospital – ensuring that they are guiding and informing our efforts at every step of the way.
Open communication with our community, along with our staff, physicians, volunteers and health care partners became more important than ever this year as Osler began an exciting process to develop a new Corporate Strategic Plan. The new Plan will serve as the foundation for everything we do and will help to guide our decisions going forward about the path we take and the areas we invest in.
As part of our strategic planning process, we have been reaching out to a wide spectrum of groups, both internally and externally through focus group sessions, community group meetings and even a ‘patient experience summit’. We are striving to ensure that the voices of our patients, volunteers, donors and other members of our community continue to be heard as the new Corporate Strategic Plan is developed.
Our strategic planning process will be completed by January 2013 and the final plan will be shared with the broader public in winter 2013.
With a number of redevelopment projects also underway and planned for the future at our Peel Memorial and Etobicoke General Hospital sites, as well as continued growth and expansion at Brampton Civic Hospital, Osler has an exciting few years ahead of it.
The new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, targeted for completion in 2015-2016, moved to the request for qualifications (RFQ) phase in early November. We expect that shovels will be in the ground on the Peel site by the next fiscal year. At Etobicoke General, we are on track with the planning and design of the hospital’s new, four-storey wing that will provide bigger and brighter spaces in which to work and to receive care. And, at Brampton Civic, our redevelopment team is preparing for all of the new programs and services we are offering to our growing and diverse community.
It’s safe to say that there will be busy times in our future, but I’m certainly looking forward to continuing on this journey alongside our committed team of staff, physicians and volunteers, and with the support of our community.