SUDBURY, ON – Health Sciences North wants to harness the power of technology, data, and analytics to deliver high quality health care, while tackling systemic issues facing the healthcare system in the future. The theme of HSN’s 2019 Annual General Meeting, inspired by one of the Key Goals in the organization’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, was “Digitally Enabled: Investing in Tomorrow.”
Dr. Tyler Christie was the keynote speaker for the Annual General Meeting. As HSN’s Chief Medical Information Officer, he is focused on bridging the gap between HSN’s Information Technology and Clinical departments, while ensuring any technological advances in medicine are looked at through the eyes of the patient. Dr. Christie knows first-hand how technology can increase accessibility and break down barriers in health, being an Emergency Medicine physician for the past nine years.
“We can use technology and data to improve patient safety and efficiency and develop more effective care plans for patients,” said Dr. Christie. “All of this will lead to better quality of care for our patients, and an improved work flow for staff. This work also ties in with three specific outcomes in our Strategic Plan, which we want to achieve by 2024.”
Launching a new Electronic Medical Record, one of the outcomes in HSN’s new Strategic Plan, will give health care providers immediate access to patient information. Patients will spend less time retelling their stories and repeating tests. Healthcare providers will have access to medication verification systems at the bedside, preventing adverse errors, leading to safer care.
Ensuring patients receive the best care possible requires investments in HSN staff. HSN will implement a new Human Capital Management System to better balance workload for staff, while making sure HSN has the right staffing levels to meet patient demands. This technology will also lead to improved learning and training opportunities for frontline staff.
The Annual General Meeting also included a report from Jessica Grenier, Co-Chair of the CEO Patient and Family Advisory Council. She notes that patient and family advisors were heavily involved in developing the organization’s Quality Improvement Plan, the 2019-2024 HSN/HSNRI Strategic Plan, Patient Experience Reports, as well as the Accreditation process. She also mentioned that in the past year, the council has focussed on strengthening the voice of the patient throughout different levels of the organization, including patient stories at board and committee meetings, public events, and orientation sessions for new staff.
HSN Board Chair Nicole Everest is stepping down after nine years of distinguished service on the Board, serving as Chair for the last four years. “Serving on the Board has been a great honour. HSN has great momentum going forward. There are many challenges facing the healthcare system, and with our new Strategic Plan and financially stability, I’m optimistic for the future of the organization and for the patients of Northeastern Ontario,” said Everest. Floyd Laughren, HSN Board Member since 2015 and current Vice- Chair, was elected as the new Board Chair. Dr. Dominique Ansell, Don Duval, Lynne Dupuis, Francesca Grosso, Tom Laughren, and Stéphan Plante were also welcomed as new Board Members.
New Board Chair Floyd Laughren expressed gratitude to Board members departing in 2018-2019: Michelle Caza-Joly, Nicole Everest, Dr. Jordan Herst, Josée Forest-Niesing, Stephen Petrovic and Shawn Scott.
Dr. Catherine Cervin, Daniel Giroux, Dr. Kevin McCormick, Chris Redmond and Karen Rowe were re-appointed for another three-year term on the Board. Roger Gauthier, Rosella Kinoshameg and Vasu Balakrishnan will continue to serve their current terms as elected Directors, along with non-voting ex-officio members Dr. Dominique Ansell, Lorraine Carrington, Dr. Killian de Blacam, Dr. John Fenton and Dominic Giroux.
Dominic Giroux, President and CEO of HSN and HSNRI, discussed a number of important priorities in the coming years for the organization, including delivering on outcome number one of the Strategic Plan – the implementation of a new capital master plan. “We know HSN was built too small and also know that our population is going to age significantly in the next 20 years, putting added pressures on our capacity. We need to create more bed spaces so that we are better prepared to address current and future healthcare needs of the region,” he said.
Dr. John Fenton, HSN’s Chief of Staff, noted the organization collaborated with regional partners, including the City of Greater Sudbury, to recruit 20 new physicians this year including six Family Doctors, 12 specialists, and two Emergency Medicine physicians. Dr. Fenton also highlighted accomplishments in improvement work made in the last year in Cardiology, Radiology, and Psychiatry.
Board member and Treasurer Vasu Balakrishnan presented the audited financial statements for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and reported that HSN completed the year with excess of revenue over expenses of $155,000. This compares to a deficiency of revenue over expenses of $7.1 million in 2016-2017 and $11.1 million in 2017-2018.
Going forward, HSN and HSNRI will focus on achieving the key goals set out in the 2019 - 2024 Strategic Plan. This will include being patient and family-focused, digitally-enabled and socially accountable. HSN will support and develop its people and strengthen its academic and research impact.
HSN also looks forward to hearing back on results in the coming months from a recent Readiness Self-Assessment submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for the creation of the Équipe Santé Sudbury & Districts Health Team, which includes 36 other health care organizations based, for the most part, in Greater Sudbury.