A new image guidance system is helping surgeons pinpoint locations in the body with precise accuracy for procedures such as pinpointing a brain tumour of finding an exact insertion spot of a spinal screw thanks to a $230,000 grant from the Health Sciences Foundation. This level of precision means less damage to healthy tissue during surgery resulting in better outcomes, reduced pain and shorter recovery times for patients.
As a community member and a client of health care services in Northwestern Ontario, I am excited about the opportunities presented by Ontario Health Teams (OHT). OHTs are intended to bring together Health Services Providers (HSP) serving a geographically defined population. The OHT will be clinically and fiscally accountable for delivering a coordinated continuum of care. Through this model, patients will be cared for, even if they’re not in the same organization or physical location. The goal is to provide better, more integrated care. OHTs are expected to enhance patients’ health care journey through flawless transitions in care, improved access to online health records, and a clear accountability framework.
Northwestern Ontario is well prepared for this project. When the call for Readiness Self-Assessments was issued in April, more than 30 Northwestern Ontario network HSP leads from multiple sectors, including our Hospital, put pen to paper highlighting this region’s strong history of partnership, collaboration, and innovation in identifying and meeting the health care needs of Northwestern Ontario residents. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has acknowledged receipt of our submission. A decision is expected in June whether Northwestern Ontario has been selected to proceed to an application to be designated as an OHT.
The concept of improved integration of health services to enhance patient journeys and care outcomes is being discussed throughout the province. It was the primary topic of the Rural and Northern Health Care Leadership Conference hosted by the Ontario Hospital Association; the Hospital President & CEO, Jean Bartkowiak, and I attended that conference on May 7 and 8 in Toronto. The annual conference brings together board members and senior leaders from small, rural and northern health care organizations, to learn and explore strategies to address significant health system challenges and emerging trends impacting isolated HSPs. The program focused on building healthy communities; a transformation imperative for hospitals and community partners. We also explored the opportunities and important drivers for effective patient partnership to ensure the patient voice is incorporated in policy and program decisions, as well as care delivery and quality improvement processes. Learnings are highly relevant to our next steps as health care providers in Northwestern Ontario as we determine how to best collaborate to provide a coordinated continuum of care for patients.
In the same spirit of coming together to affect positive change, donations made to the Hospital Foundation have a significant impact to patients and families. The Ibn Sina Simulation Lab was generously funded through a $500,000.00 donation by the Muslim Physicians Group. The Simulation Lab advances our academic mission by enabling learners at the Hospital to enhance their skills through ongoing education using simulation. This will ultimately benefit our families and friends when they are cared for as patients. A donation of this magnitude is transformational in the impact it has, not only today, but well into the future. Our sincere gratitude is extended to these physicians who continue to role model the dedication and action required to advance safe quality patient care.
I am very proud of the entire Hospital team, staff, professional staff, scientists, learners, volunteers and donors, whose combined engagement and commitment result in continuous progress toward our Mission and Vision. I encourage all members of the community to review the 2018-2019 Annual Report of the Hospital and Health Research Institute. The report will be available June 21 at www.tbrhsc.net, following the Annual General Meetings of the Boards of Directors of the two organizations. This year’s Annual Report will provide an overview of some of the initiatives, improvements, learnings and discoveries in our delivery of patient care, teaching, and research.