An inaugural innovation expo at North York General Hospital on Wednesday served as the cornerstone of a new partnership that will bring together North York General, Toronto East General Hospital, Etobicoke’s St. Joseph’s Health Centre and three York Region hospitals to transform community hospital health care.
“This is absolutely fantastic,” Health Minister Deb Matthews told the huge crowd gathered for the InnovationEX 2014 expo in the lobby of North York General.
“What we’re seeing is innovation in action, we’re seeing transformation in action.”
She praised the new Joint Centres for Transformative Healthcare Innovation, also known as Joint Centres, which is a voluntary partnership between the three Toronto hospitals and Mackenzie Health, Markham Stouffville Hospital and Southlake Regional Health Centre north of Toronto.
“My mantra goes like this: if it’s better for patients and if it’s better value for money, then we have to change,” she said.
“This is really worth celebrating, the best change is coming from the front lines. None of these ideas were my ideas or the ministry’s ideas. All of these ideas were your ideas. You saw a better way to get better care for patients and better value for money. No one knows how to do that better than the people on the front line. My job is to get out of the way and let you do what you need to do. My job is to put in place the standards so we’re striving for better quality...it’s your job to make that happen.”
The six hospitals will share innovations and practices that focus on improving quality and value in health care, said Joint Centres chair Rob Devitt, Toronto East General president.
“The hospitals that are part of this innovation are nimble, they’re fast. We haven’t bureaucratized change, we just do it, And that is what makes this group so interesting and where there is such potential as we look to share these great ideas,” he said.
“The system needs to change. We know there’s tons of evidence that says we can do better for the patients we’re so entrusted to serve, both in terms of the quality of the care given, the timeliness of access, the safety of care and the value of every precious tax dollar.”
The idea for the Joint Centres was born last November when heads of the six hospitals discussed how they were already consulting each other on problem-solving and acknowledging each others’ quality in health care and commitment to value for taxpayers, Devitt said.
The Joint Centres is a way to extend those philosophies, he said.
The expo saw the six hospitals set up booths showing off their innovative approaches to health care.
For example, North York General focused on eCare and how technology can improve patient care, patient and family-centred care and providing access to care for all.
Toronto East General’s exhibits detailed a multi-pronged approach to infection prevention and control, a diabetes walking clinic and a community surgical and ambulatory centre.
St. Joseph’s innovations included greening practices in the operating room, mental health services for new fathers and “beach chair traction positioning” for shoulder arthroscopic surgery.