NIAGARA, Ontario: The Niagara Health System (NHS) is in the beginning steps of preparing a master program to explore what hospital investments are needed across the region over 15 years to meet the healthcare needs of Niagara residents.
A master program is a standard planning document used by hospitals to reflect their current and future role within the community they serve. It outlines current and projected programs, staffing and departmental space requirements based on demographic data. The next step would be a master plan, which translates the master program into a physical plan and analyses development options.
“This will be a system-wide analysis, and all of our sites will be part of the process,” says Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bala Kathiresan. “The goal of this process is to ensure that future development and re-development of physical infrastructure at any of our sites is the absolute best way to meet the longer-term healthcare needs of the Niagara population.”
The Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP) will proceed as planned, and the master program process will build on it. Initiatives to be implemented in the final phase (2011 to 2013) of the HIP include creating Centres of Excellence in various surgical specialties as well as in obstetrics and mental health.
Clinical leaders are currently validating their HIP program directions by demonstrating their plans serve the best interests of quality patient care on the basis of sound clinical evidence and research. This validation will help form the final phase implementation plan which will be confirmed by the HIP Steering Committee in early June, then presented to the hospital Board of Trustees later in June.
At the request of the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), the master program analysis will look at the integration of clinical programs across the LHIN; emerging best practice models of care (such as the shift from inpatient to outpatient care); partnerships and integration with community health services providers; and current infrastructure. The LHIN encouraged the NHS to undertake a system-wide master program after it submitted a master program and master plan for the Greater Niagara General Site (GNG). The needs identified by the master program and master plan for GNG will be incorporated into the system-wide master program. The new master program process will not limit the hospital from moving ahead with necessary immediate renovations such as the Port Colborne Site’s Urgent Care renovation, the Niagara Falls satellite dialysis implementation, and renovations related to the energy retrofit project
The first step will be to launch a Request for Proposals process to engage the services of a consultant to assist in preparing the system-wide master program. The entire process is expected to take approximately a year and will include stakeholder engagement.