While Niagara Health looks forward to future accomplishments in 2017, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to look back and reflect on what was an extraordinary 2016.
One of our proudest moments of the year was the launch of our new Purpose, Vision and Values and our first-ever strategic plan. We heard from thousands of people inside our organization and across the region about what matters, and the feedback we received inspired us to imagine a Healthier Niagara.
The plan sets out four Areas of Focus to guide us to the vision of a Healthier Niagara – Extraordinary Teams, Extraordinary Care, Extraordinary Future and Extraordinary Innovation.
We also developed seven key organizational-wide initiatives to sharpen our focus and identify supports required to move forward to accomplish our goals for Year 1.
The initiatives are:
Healthy Teams: A culture of mutual respect will help our teams to problem solve and generate extraordinary ideas through resilience and innovation. We also started a program to better support and develop our new leaders. And we laid the groundwork to launch a new staff and physician engagement survey to get better feedback from you twice a year.
Creation of Unit-Based Teams: We now have eight Unit Based Teams made up of staff, physicians and leaders to undertake improvement action in their respective work areas. These teams engage and empower our front-line staff to improve the performance of their department, and we continue to bring more teams online.
Patient Flow Efforts: Greater focus on estimated date of discharge, Alternate Level of Care patients and Medical Short Stay Units, among other initiatives, has helped reduce the Emergency Department length-of-stay for admitted patients.
Best Possible Medication History: We implemented the Best Possible Medication History process to make sure accurate and comprehensive medication information is communicated during care transitions for all of our patients. As well, Niagara Health was one of 18 hospitals in North America, and the only one from Canada, to be selected to participate in the Multi-Centre Medication Reconciliation Quality Improvement Study (MARQUIS2).
Safe sharing and exchange of information: We’re collaborating with patients and their families to develop new ways to improve the safe sharing and exchange of information between all of our healthcare providers and teams, especially during care transitions. We’re introducing more regular rounding. This means when nurses and other interprofessional team members check in on patients, they’ll make sure to assess each patient’s personal needs, position, pain, possessions and pumps, to inform their plan of care.
Be Well Initiative: We are receiving great feedback on the Be Well initiative, which supports the physical and mental health of all staff, physicians and volunteers to help them make informed personal health choices. This will help everyone to be more engaged, healthy and safe at work.
Integrated Comprehensive Care program: The launch of our Integrated Comprehensive Care program gives Congestive Heart Failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients enhanced access to services in the community and medical expertise. The Integrated Comprehensive Care program directly integrates hospital and community care services for patients who require home care after discharge from hospital. More than 300 patients had participated in the program by the end of the year, and that number continues to increase.
OTHER PROUD MOMENTS FROM 2016
We’re thrilled to highlight a sample of our other proud moments from 2016
Achieving Exemplary Standing: For the first time ever, we were Accredited with Exemplary Standing, which recognizes organizations that go beyond the requirements of Accreditation Canada and demonstrate excellence in quality improvement.
Giving ways: Niagara Health teams demonstrate their giving ways throughout the year, coming together to support such worthy causes as the Big Move Cancer Ride and the United Way. In 2016, we raised a record $75,470 for United Way through employee giving and a charity hockey game featuring Niagara Health’s first-ever Extraordinaires hockey team.
Renal program partnership: Our innovative partnership with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton to create a single renal program, serving residents from across the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network, has proven extremely beneficial to our patients. It’s an example of working with stakeholders and partners beyond our walls to build a true system of care we can all be proud of.
Recognition for promoting organ donation: Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) recognized us for our dedication to helping improve organ and tissue donation in Ontario and saving lives through transplantation. We were presented with the Hospital Achievement Award -- Provincial Conversion Rate, given to hospitals that met or exceeded TGLN’s target of a 67% Conversion Rate, which is the percentage of actual organ donors from the total number of potentially eligible organ donors.
Launch of new Emergency Management Program: We launched a new Emergency Code process and enhancements to our Emergency Management Program. The new Emergency Code process uses an online app that provides easy-to-use electronic checklists.
Future planning: The Local Health Integration Network Board recently endorsed our Stage 1A proposal, which includes the programs and services proposed for Niagara Falls and Welland as part of our redevelopment planning. Next steps are for the Ministry to review and provide feedback on Stages 1A and 1B, as well as Stage 2, which were submitted in 2016. A lot of hard work has gone into these submissions, and we are very proud of our teams for their extraordinary efforts.
Financial health: Our financial health continues to improve thanks to the work of our Niagara Health team. 2016 marked the third straight year we’ve had an operating budget surplus, and we’re forecast to do the same in the 2016/17 fiscal year ending March 31.
Recruitment efforts: We continue to have great success in our efforts to retain and recruit the best and brightest to work at our sites across Niagara.
National attention for innovation: Our innovation efforts, which are making a significant contribution in our work to create extraordinary experiences for our patients, their families and our teams, received national attention in the Globe and Mail and Canadian Healthcare Technology.
Patient Satisfaction Survey: We introduced a Patient Satisfaction Survey that sees trained volunteers visit patients in their rooms using a hand-held tablet to complete a questionnaire. This technology, developed by Niagara Health’s Information and Communications Technology team, allows us to measure patient satisfaction in real time and includes an escalation process for timely resolution of their concerns.
Health Quality Symposium: The fourth annual Health Quality Symposium brought together leaders in healthcare to showcase how an innovative partnership has improved health quality in the Niagara Region. I-EQUIP (Interprofessional Education for Quality Improvement Program) projects that pair students from Brock and McMaster’s School of Medicine - Niagara campus, with leaders and front-line staff from Niagara Health were presented. The symposium also featured 16 workshops and two keynote addresses on health-related research and quality improvement through practice.
Wait times in real time: Our service that allows the public to view our Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre wait times in real time helps those we serve make more informed decisions about their care. The wait times are available on Niagara Health’s website and on monitors at our sites.
Focus on research: We’re seeing a greater focus on research at Niagara Health thanks to the work and engagement by the team in our Research Lead Office.
Partnerships with academic partners: As a learning organization, we continue to develop strong partnerships with our academic partners, creating extraordinary experiences for our learners. Niagara Health works closely with many academic partners, including Brock University, McMaster University and Niagara College to provide learning and education opportunities in a number of healthcare-related fields.
Patient in-house transportation program: Niagara Health's innovative portering system continues to exceed expectations, reducing wait times and making patient transfers within the hospital faster and smoother, whether for a diagnostic test, procedure or other need. The automated notification system, which was launched in 2013, allows all hospital staff involved with patient transports to follow a patient’s status or movement along the route in real time on a monitor.