South West LHIN Exchange Newsletter - July 2016 

Hearing the Patient Voice: 2016 Quality Symposium round-up

Reflecting on her journey through the health care system, Judith John realized the most important metric for success in treating a patient: “treat me like a person.”

Judith, a brain tumour survivor and Patient Advisor for the University Health Network, was the opening speaker at the 2016 Quality Symposium in Stratford, Ontario. Her personal story helped introduce the Symposium’s theme, “hearing the patient voice.”

One of the most poignant moments for those 432 health system partners from across the South West LHIN in attendance was when Judith recalled a moment when she was dealing with a health care provider and stated, "I’m more than an interesting chart or a number. I’m here!"

It was through this experience that Judith came to the realization that to improve patient care, providers need to have a relationship with their patients so the patient’s voice can be heard.  

Throughout the day, Judith, alongside keynote speaker Andrew Coyne as well as George Smitherman and Dr. Joshua Tepper used their time on stage to explore the three pillars of our Integrated Health Service Plan: quality care, improved health and better value. It was Judith’s comments on hearing the patient voice, as well as success stories videos that were played throughout the symposium, that highlighted the importance of the patient’s voice during the day.

Nationally syndicated columnist and political analyst Andrew Coyne explored the question, “are we getting value from our health care system?”  As a trained economist, Andrew looked at this issue through an economic lens. Andrew highlighted the need to reassess incentives in the system, localize budget constraints, decentralize decision making and the need to control costs and get better outcomes in the process. 

George Smitherman, former Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and “Godfather” of the LHINs, spoke of the importance of local decision-making in improving health within the local health care system. George also challenged the audience: "Do not be afraid to be different and to be the originators of new and innovative ideas."

Dr. Joshua Tepper, President and CEO of Health Quality Ontario, had the task of weaving together the themes each speaker explored. After opening with a moving story of Scott, a homeless man who died while receiving care, Dr. Tepper spoke about some of the challenges facing the health care system. Scott’s story was an example of why we need to ensure equity and the consistent application of care. 

“Each year we try to offer a wide range of speakers and perspectives,” said Michael Barrett, Chief Executive Officer, South West LHIN. “The aim is to help ensure the patient’s voice is heard and to inspire our health care providers to innovate and improve the quality of health care in their communities.” 

Ontario Government Tables Patients First Act 

While the Quality Symposium was underway on June 2 in Stratford, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Eric Hoskins, tabled Bill 210 in the legislature, the proposed Patients First Act.  If passed, the bill would expand the role of the Ontario’s LHINs to be responsible for health service planning and performance management all the way through a patient's journey. 

LHINs would take on: 

  • A responsibility for primary care planning and performance improvement in partnership with clinical leaders. 
  • Direct responsibility for home and community care service management and delivery as it is transferred from CCACs to LHINs. 
  • Formalizing stronger linkages with public health. 

The proposed act builds on the Patients First Discussion Paper released on December 17, 2015.  
More information on the Patients First Discussion Paper.

New quality table established in hope of improving quality in our system

Following the inaugural meeting of the South West Clinical Quality Table, Dr. Rob Annis is hopeful that it will play an important role for quality improvement in our region.

Dr. Annis has been a general practitioner and family physician for 22 years in Listowel, Ontario. As the South West Clinical Quality lead, he will lead the newly established regional Quality Table for South West LHIN. The table was established in partnership with Health Quality Ontario to share quality evidence and best practices to improve quality.

Already the Table is looking at the success St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital is having and implementing that success across the region. 

"They’ve had very good success with discharge planning, and they have the best stats in the LHIN for getting discharge summaries out to family doctors and for booking follow up appointments after discharge for people who are admitted non-electively,” said Dr. Annis. “So we think we can help spread that success to the other hospitals in the region."

The reason for Dr. Annis’ optimism is the increased ability to accurately measure more health metrics over the past ten years so that it may be replicated in another area. 

"We want to take all that data and use it to make improvements at the front line level,” said Dr. Annis. "There are pockets of success all over the place. The idea now is to make that a standard part of practice for everyone, every institution on ongoing basis. So quality improvement is never over, but we are kind of at an exciting phase right now and we’re using the data we have to actually make things better."

Voices from the floor

With his notebook grasped tightly in his hand, symposium attendee Phil Dalton exited the Stratford Rotary Complex feeling excited and inspired.

Dalton, a health promoter at the Maitland Valley Family Health Team in Goderich, Ontario, had just attended the South West LHIN’s Quality Symposium for the first time. 

"I was incredibly impressed," said Phil. "“Now we have to go back to do our jobs and do the day-to-day work, and be inspired to do change at the local level."

Phil was not the only first timer at this year’s 2016 Quality Symposium. Rita O’Neil, the director of finance for South Bruce Grey Health Centre, was most drawn to the theme on ‘hearing the patient voice’ and its focus on patient-centered care.

“That’s what today is all about, the quality of patient care,” said Rita. 

Many of the guests were particularly moved by guest speaker Judith John’s emotional story of her personal journey through the health care system.

“They brought tears to my eyes,” said Susan Fairley, Business Manager for Over 55 London Inc.

The Quality Symposium is a forum that encourages health care providers and partners to work together and find innovative ways to improve efficiency and the quality of care in our communities.  


A visit to Showcase Alley leads to potential partnerships and quality improvement

When Crystal McCallum helped set up the South West Regional Wound Care Program booth along the back wall of the Stratford Rotary Complex in Showcase Alley, she had no idea an opportunity would arise from simply showing up to help out. 

"Today we heard hospitals, community and long-term care homes have come together to facilitate easier transitions of patients across sectors when they are being discharged from one sector to the next,” said McCallum, clinical lead for the South West Regional Wound Care Program. “It parallels a project we’ve been working on. So our plan is to connect to with them now that we have learned of the progress they’ve made, and to find out how they managed to accomplish their goals and take that good work and use it to influence our work moving forward.”

This year's Showcase Alley featured booths from Registered Nurses of Ontario,, South West Self-Management, Behavioural Supports Ontario, Connecting South West Ontario, Alzheimer Societies of the South West LHIN, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, Health Links, and the South West Regional Wound Care Program.

McCallum’s experience is encouraging as Showcase Alley presents health care providers with an opportunity to not only educate others, but also to learn what other organizations are doing in the LHIN.  “You see all the behind the scenes projects that are going on that you don’t necessarily know about, and then you just might see how it impact your clients,” said Jennifer Gritke, Regional Community Partnership Coordinator for London-Middlesex-Elgin at South West Healthline. “Even for organizations or providers that don’t think they are associated with the LHIN.” 

Innovative quality initiatives recognized with awards

Two quality initiatives received awards at the 2016 Quality Symposium.  

  • The Model for Seamless, Integrated Community Support: Collaborating for Client-Centered Care received the award for the small/medium size quality improvement project.
  • Access to Care: Assisted Living, supportive housing and adult day program received the award for the large scale quality improvement project.

Seamless, Integrated Community Support: Collaborating for Client-Centered Care initiative partners include:
Mitchell Community Outreach, Community Outreach – Milverton, Victoria Order of Nurses - Perth Huron, Bluewater Rest Home, St. Mary’s Home Support, Cheshire Homes of London, Dale Brain Injury Services, Alzheimer Society of Perth, Alzheimer Society of Huron, One Care and Participation Lodge – Grey Bruce.

 This project focused on client-centered care in three primary areas:

  • Central intake and a single point access to services;
  • Shared client record; and
  • Coordination of care through care planning role.

The aim of the project was to develop, explore and test a model for seamless, integrated Community Support Service access, coordination and delivery, improving the outcomes for clients, caregivers and health system partners.

VIDEO: About the Model for Seamless, Integrated Community Support: Collaborating for Client-Centered Care

Access to Care: Assisted Living, supportive housing and adult day program partners included:
South West CCAC; South West LHIN; VON; ATC;  Cheshire Homes of London; Dale Brain Injury Services; Elgin-St. Thomas – Adult Day Program; Dearness Home – Adult Day Program; Alzheimer Outreach Services – McCormick Home; Salvation Army – Adult Day Program; Craigwel Gardens – Adult Day Program; Four Counties – Assisted Living and Adult Day Progam; One Care Care – Assisted Living and Adult Day Program; Grey Bruce Heath Services; Grey Bruce Home and Community Support Services Adult Day Program; The Canadian Red Cross – Assisted Living; West Elgin Community Health Centre- Assisted Living; Ingersoll Services for Seniors – Assisted Living; Tillsonburg and District Multi-Service Centre Assisted Living; Spruce Lodge; St. Mary’s and Area Home and Support Services -  Assisted Living; Hutton House; Participation House;  Participation Lodge; Kingsway Lodge; John Gordon Home; Crest Services;; and Alexandra Hospital.

This project looked at the issue of high-risk seniors receiving assisted living services in the South West who were not receiving the right care at the right time in the right place, and the their lack of equitable access to adult day programs.

Using the Assisted Living Services for High Risk Seniors Policy and the CCAC Act and Regulations as guidelines, co-leads from a variety of specialty areas were seconded, at first to understand the current state of assisted living and adult day programs and then, to develop an implementation plan to realign services to meet client needs

VIDEO: Access to Care: Assisted Living, supportive housing and adult day program.

Advisory panel established to help guide South West LHIN through system renewal

As we turn our focus towards the recently introduced Patients First Act, the South West LHIN has formed the new Executive Advisory Panel. We established the Executive Advisory Panel to provide advice and counsel around the preparatory work associated with implementing the proposed Patients First Act

The Panel is a transitional advisory body to the South West LHIN during the initial planning stages for the implementation of the proposed Patients First Act. The Panel is comprised of key system champions in the LHIN selected based on their leadership roles, skill sets, experiences, perspectives and geographies they represent.

Shirley Biro  (Regional)   Patient/caregiver representative
Dr. Sean Blaine 
(Huron Perth)  
Primary Care
Sandra Coleman
(CCAC) Home and community care
Steve Crawford
(London-Middlesex)      Long term care
Linda Crossley-Hauch    
Patient/caregiver representative
Brian Dokis 
Indigenous health care
Sue Hillis  
Home and community care
Jacques Kenny
Francophone entity
Gillian Kernaghan
Hazel Lynn
(Grey Bruce) 
Public Health
Mike McMahon
Mental Health
Kathy Scanlon
(Huron Perth) 
Home and community care
Dr. Gord Schacter   
Primary care
Lance Thurston 
(Grey Bruce)     
Dr. Nancy Whitmore
Andrew Williams
(Huron Perth)  

Thank you to the Health System Leadership Council

Over the past several years the Health System Leadership Council has provided advice and direction to the South West LHIN Leadership team to advance our strategic planning initiatives to improve quality in our region.  As the council’s work sunsets, the South West LHIN would like to thank the members of the Council for all their hard work and dedication:  

Heather DeBruyn; Paul Rosebush; Susan Rae; Betsy Little; Lynn Beath; Sandra Coleman; Brian Dunne; Michelle Worsfold; Steve Crawford; Jennifer Cornell; Andrew Williams; Todd Stepanuik; Murray Glendining; Scott McKay; Shirley Biro; Andy Pope; Linda Crossley-Hauch; Margaret Steele; Dr. Christopher Mackie (co-chair); Mary Atkinson; Brian Dokis; and Jacques Kenney.