By Dr. Frank Martino
Hospitals across Ontario, and indeed across Canada, have proven themselves to be creative, solutions-focused organizations using talent and teams from within to improve patient outcomes, advance more effective treatments, generate process efficiencies, and create more effective care pathways for patients. Perhaps initially borne out of necessity, hospitals have become leaders in leveraging emerging technologies, advancing life-changing research, and inspiring new ways of thinking. Since becoming William Osler Health System’s (Osler’s) President and CEO over a year ago, I have had the privilege of witnessing this capacity for innovation first-hand in my own organization. So how do we harness this talent within our own organizations in a way that helps us advance our visions and strategic plans?
The following are three critical success factors that I truly believe are key to building a strong, unified and inclusive health system of the future:
Embrace an organizational commitment to innovative health care
Osler has long prided itself on cultivating a thriving workplace culture that promotes, inspires and recognizes ingenuity. This means ensuring our teams have access to the timely and relevant information they need to identify barriers, pool solution-oriented ideas, and prioritize patients and their experiences when making decisions. This past year we were able to further advance informed decision-making and meaningful team dialogue and engagement through the introduction of iHuddle Boards across all inpatient and outpatient areas. Developed in-house, these electronic boards provide teams with real-time information on what is happening from an operational perspective at the local level and across Osler sites, and were recognized by the Health Standards Organization (HSO) as a global leading practice.
Workplace cultures that promote innovation deliver. From the onset of the pandemic to present day, Osler leaders, staff and physicians have built on the organization’s strong foundation for innovation by developing a series of transformative solutions, that are not only having a positive impact on patient care, but also on the way we work across our hospitals. Beyond the iHuddle Boards, other significant accomplishments include the development and operationalization of Osler’s Operational Command Centre (OCC) to better track patient flow, transfer of accountability, and patient activity, as well as the introduction of Osler’s Digital Stroke Dashboard, created in-house to visually track more than 850 patients each year and display quality metrics in real-time for patients who have suffered a stroke.
Set the bar high for quality health care for patients, families and your community
Whatever the situation, however great the challenge, consistently reinforce an organizational commitment to high-quality, compassionate care. In Osler’s case, we frequently talk about our Vision for patient-inspired health care without boundaries, and how our teams pride themselves on going beyond to deliver exemplary, people-centred services close to home. These statements inspire our team members to be extraordinary – to go that extra mile – for our patients, our colleagues, our partners and our communities. This in turn prompts innovative thinking that often translates into creative solutions to some of the most pressing health care challenges of our time.
Our teams’ ability to rally around our Vision and a collective commitment to safe, quality patient care was instrumental in Osler earning Accreditation Canada’s highest designation for a hospital within the past year.
Osler’s commitment to going beyond propelled us to become the first acute care hospital in the world to implement The Butterfly Approach™ – an innovative approach to dementia care. It was also demonstrated through the introduction of a robotic surgical assistant that helps patients recover more quickly after surgery, known as the ROSA Knee System – one of only approximately 10 in use in Canadian hospitals. Both ideas stemmed from team members and blossomed into improvements to our approaches to patient care.
Keep your eye on the future
Our potential as hospitals to positively impact the health care we deliver relies on our ability to not only develop innovative solutions in the present, but to also keep an eye on what our communities will need in the future.
As a leading hospital system in Ontario, Osler is looking ahead to a bold future with exciting developments on the horizon for more accessible, high-quality care for our communities, close to home. Transforming our Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness into Brampton’s second hospital, planning for the future redevelopment of Etobicoke General Hospital, establishing a research institute, expanding cancer care services for our region, and partnering with Toronto Metropolitan University to open a new School of Medicine in Brampton are just a few examples of how we’re looking to the future and building a comprehensive health system for generations to come.
Based on my Osler experience, I believe success is due in large part to a compelling Vision; Values that resonate; a comprehensive and forward-thinking strategic plan; an agile, innovative and collaborative workforce; and robust relationships with patients, families, donors, community, health care and government partners. As one of our wise staff members put it, championing a new tomorrow for health care ‘means fostering a culture of innovation and harnessing technology, but never forgetting the
importance of humanity.’
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