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Putting Our Patients First

Patient and family-centred care is the core business and focus of our work at St. Joseph's. Providing the safest care is what each and every one of our staff members does 365 days of the year. Everyone in our organization contributes to the delivery of health care whether they work directly with patients or in a non-clinical role.

Our corporate motto is "Patient Safety is Everyone's Responsibility". Over the last year we have worked hard at putting that message into practice so we can build a culture of safety starting from our Board of Directors, the most senior level of leadership, right down the ranks to our front line staff.

Patient Safety Rounds

In December, our senior leaders began weekly visits to areas across the Health Centre as a way of listening to employee's concerns and to identify potential issues impacting patient safety. Patient Safety Rounds connect frontline staff with senior leadership to:

Between December 2008 and March 2009, there were 15 patient safety rounds conducted generating 50 patient safety concerns brought forward by staff. An action plan outlining timelines and accountabilities to resolve these issues have been initiated for each concern and they are either currently being addressed or have been completed. St. Joe's is proud of this program and our staff for embracing it, because that is 50 patient safety events that have been avoided.

Hand Hygiene

When one of our patients gets a healthcare associated infection it takes them longer to recover and delays their return home. It also costs the healthcare system three times the amount of an average patient's care.

It is our responsibility as healthcare providers to practice proper hand hygiene and to educate our patients and visitors about their role in preventing the spread of germs and infections. It's the right thing to do and it's crucial to our culture of safety at St. Joe's.

Hand Hygiene is everybody's business and in July, we launched our Hand Hygiene campaign building on the Ministry of Health's program "Just Clean Your Hands". All of our staff and physicians participated in a hand hygiene education program and our leadership team began conducting audits throughout our clinical areas as part of the Ministry's mandatory reporting of hand hygiene compliance rates.

Going Platinum

Our culture of patient safety was recognized with a platinum award from Becton Dickinson (BD) last March. The award is given to Canadian hospitals that have met exceptionally high standards in implementing safety engineered medical devices. The BD safety recognition identifies St. Joe's as system leader and a role model for other organizations who are committed to providing the safest care. The award includes a $5,000 educational grant that we are using to promote our patient safety strategy.

Focusing on Access and Flow

Over the past two years we have worked hard at improving patient access to health care services when they need them by reducing bottlenecks and improving our systems and processes so the patient can return home quickly to their family and every day life.

This year, we had over 21,000 patients admitted here for care through our inpatient services. On average, we admit 58 patients and discharge 57 patients on a daily basis.

Helping patients access the right service and flow seamlessly through the hospital is the key focus of our Patient Flow Specialists. These positions were created to continue to build on the work our organization has done over the last two years and manage the safe and timely placement of patients throughout our clinical areas. The Patient Flow Specialists have an organization-wide view of patient movement and priorities for patient flow and the ultimate accountability in ensuring the right patient is placed in the right bed.

It is also important that everyone in our organization knows and understand that they play a fundamental role in helping patients access services and flow through the Health Centre.

To demonstrate our success at working together to improve and coordinate patient flow through the Health Centre, we meet weekly at "The Wall". This weekly review brings together all of our Patient Care and Support Managers, Directors and Senior Leaders to talk about progress against our aim of "providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time, 100% of the time." At The Wall, we discuss as a group how well we are doing, what improvements need to be made next and what barriers need to removed to help our patients.

As part of our Vision is to be Canada's Best Community Teaching Hospital, over the last year we have also taken what we have learned about patient access and flow outside of the organization to help 12 other healthcare service providers improve by sharing some of the strategies we have implemented.

Delivering on the eHealth Promise

Last year we launched phase one of our eHealth Strategy, with the goal of having an electronic health record for every single patient by 2013. This will give us a complete and accessible online document that will show the patient's entire journey through our organization.

Aligned with the Ministry of Health and Toronto Central LHIN's strategic priorities our eHealth strategy is broken into three multi-year phases. This is a major project that will completely change and transform the way we provide care for the 500,000 residents in southwest Toronto. It won't replace good clinical judgement, but instead provide a starting point for our clinicians to plan and deliever your care. It will mean safer, timelier and more coordinated patient care.