A health­ful ap­proach to care and cul­ture

National Post (Latest Edition) - - MOST ADMIRED CORPORATE CULTURES - Kathryn Booth by

Ex­cel­lence, re­spect, in­tegrity, com­pas­sion. Th­ese are the watch­words to put pa­tients first at North York Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal ( NYGH). Trans­lat­ing those words into ac­tion be­gins with a win­ning cul­ture that en­gages and pro­motes the well- be­ing of the hos­pi­tal’s staff, physicians and vol­un­teers.

The cul­ture at NYGH in­spires cu­rios­ity, in­clu­sion and ser­vice ex­cel­lence that mo­ti­vate em­ploy­ees to learn and thereby ad­vance their com­mit­ment to pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.

“We firmly be­lieve that cul­ture is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with our val­ues. It rep­re­sents the crit­i­cal un­der­pin­ning of a healthy or­ga­ni­za­tion,” says Tim Rut­ledge, pres­i­dent and CEO. “Ex­cel­lence in in­te­grated pa­tient care can only oc­cur in a cul­ture that is nur­tured to bring out the very best in ev­ery­one in­volved.”

The ded­i­ca­tion to cul­ture has earned NYGH the des­ig­na­tion of one of Canada’s 10 Most Ad­mired Cor­po­rate Cul­tures ( Broader Pub­lic Sec­tor cat­e­gory) for 2015 in the an­nual recog­ni­tion pro­gram op­er­ated by Water­stone Hu­man Cap­i­tal.

A com­mu­nity teach­ing hos­pi­tal, NYGH com­bines clin­i­cal strengths, aca­demic rep­u­ta­tion, pa­tient vol­umes and di­ver­sity to foster and sup­port re­search and in­no­va­tion. Col­lab­o­ra­tion with sys­tem part­ners, i nclud­ing other hospi­tals and pri­mary, home and com­mu­nity care providers, is key. Staff, physicians, vol­un­teers, pa­tients and their fam­i­lies are equally im­por­tant as they col­lab­o­rate on the front lines to de­liver op­ti­mum health so­lu­tions.

Th­ese part­ner­ships have helped re­de­fine re­la­tion- ships at the hos­pi­tal.

“There is a trans­for­ma­tional shift in play that is mov­ing us away from a sys­tem of care that is de­liv­ered to and for pa­tients to one where pa­tients are co- con­trib­u­tors to their own care and where fam­i­lies are part of that ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Gabrielle Bochynek, vi­cepres­i­dent of peo­ple ser­vices and or­ga­ni­za­tional de­vel­op­ment. “Putting pa­tients first in ev­ery­thing we do means en­gag­ing pa­tients and fam­i­lies. We wish to un­der­stand what will make their stay less stress­ful and pro­vide a more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence over­all. We are con­tin­u­ally chal­lenged to re­in­force the ‘pa­tient first’ mantra to be all that we, and they, want us to be.”

To­ward t hat goal, t he hos­pi­tal has em­braced a phi­los­o­phy of pa­tient- and fam­ily- cen­tred care ( PFCC). The phi­los­o­phy is guided by an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee, formed in late 2012, which is made up of a dozen for­mer NYGH pa­tients or fam­ily mem­bers who had ex­pressed in­ter­est in work­ing with the hos­pi­tal as pa­tient ad­vis­ers.

Margo Twohig un­der­went can­cer treat­ment at the hos­pi­tal. She was in­vited to join the ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee by her on­col­o­gist and is now its co- chair. The com­mit­tee ac­tively par­tic­i­pates in de­ci­sion-mak­ing to en­hance the ex­pe­ri­ence and qual­ity of care pro­vided to those who walk through the doors at NYGH.

“It’s not about wag­ging fin­gers at clin­i­cians and staff, or telling sur­geons how do their job. It’s about ap­proach­ing ev­ery­thing from the per­spec­tive of the pa­tient or fam­ily mem­ber. That means ac­knowl­edg­ing that hos­pi­tal vis­its can in­crease anx­i­ety. Of­fer­ing an invit­ing at­mos­phere that is com­bined with com­pas­sion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion can help re­duce that anx­i­ety,” she says. “Ul­ti­mately, care and pro­ce­dures may re­main the same. How­ever, this ap­proach gives peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand what they will be un­der­go­ing and helps al­lay their fears in a com­fort­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

While it’s easy to talk about PFCC, there must be buy-in at the se­nior level and vis­i­ble re­sponses in the drive to­ward change, adds Twohig.

“Elim­i­nat­ing fixed visit- i ng hours and pro­vid­ing greater fam­ily ac­cess is a mas­sive un­der­tak­ing that won’t hap­pen overnight, but the com­mit­ment has been made and it will hap­pen,” she says. “For in­di­vid­ual units at the hos­pi­tal, in­te­grat­ing pa­tient ad­vis­ers has al­ready proven ben­e­fi­cial for in­ten­sive care and neona­tal units. The goal now is to bring ad­vis­ers into all other ar­eas to fur­ther im­prove health- care de­liv­ery and the pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The com­mit­ment to col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­no­va­tion stretches far be­yond the doors of NYGH, how­ever. The hos­pi­tal helped found two sep­a­rate but equally im­por­tant health- care con­sor­tia to has­ten health- care sys­tem trans­for­ma­tion.

The six- hos­pi­tal Joint Cen­tres for Trans­for­ma­tive Health­care In­no­va­tion fo­cuses on best prac­tices and how to im­ple­ment them across all part­ners. Ground­break­ing in­no­va­tions have re­sulted from the part­ner­ship over three years since in­cep­tion and are cur­rently be­ing scaled up and im­ple­mented to help fur­ther heighten and strengthen the stan­dard of care and op­er­a­tions across its mem­bers.

One i mpor­tant i ni­tia­tive to come out of th­ese col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts is an ap­proach to re­duce in­ci­dences of ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced by health- care providers across the sec­tor. Inc i dences of work­place vi­o­lence to­ward staff is an in­creas­ing con­cern. Ap­ply­ing an ef­fec­tive strat­egy in this area will have a pos­i­tive im­pact on pa­tient- and fam­ily-cen­tred care, on staff, physicians and vol­un­teers, and on the over­all cul­ture at all of the hospi­tals in­volved, notes Rut­ledge.

The six- hos­pi­tal Lead­er­ship & Or­ga­ni­za­tional De­vel­op­ment Con­sor­tium was es­tab­lished to ad­dress a sys­tem- wide pri­or­ity — the de­vel­op­ment of cur­rent and new lead­ers. The con­sor­tium shares its re­sources across hos­pi­tal set­tings to pro­vide men­tor­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties and shared ed­u­ca­tional cour­ses. This method en­sures the best and most ef- fi­cient use of lim­ited re­sources for what is an im­por­tant pri­or­ity for all hospi­tals in­volved.

When asked to imag­ine how the NYGH cul­ture will de­velop over the next five years, Bochynek says it’s about cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion, con­tin­ued learn­ing, di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion, and gen­er­a­tional change.

“Con­stantly ques­tion­ing the sta­tus quo to drive i mprove­ment; c apac­ity build­ing for lead­ers and staff; in­spir­ing and wel­com­ing di­ver­sity of thought and en­sur­ing ev­ery staff mem­ber, vol­un­teer and physi­cian is con­fi­dent in bring­ing ideas to the ta­ble. Th­ese are the things that will chal­lenge us,” she says.

It takes ex­cel­lence to reach the next level, adds Rut­ledge. “We have to be mind­ful across the con­tin­uum and seek to learn in ev­ery way. Col­lab­o­ra­tion, in­no­va­tion and col­le­gial­ity are all parts of the cul­ture that must con­tinue to evolve at NYGH to en­sure that the pa­tient al­ways comes first.”

PUTTING PA­TIENTS FIRST IN EV­ERY­THING WE DO MEANS EN­GAG­ING PA­TIENTS AND THEIR FAM­I­LIES SO WE UN­DER­STAND WHAT THAT MEANS TO THEM CUL­TURE THAT IS NUR­TURED TO BRING OUT THE VERY BEST IN EV­ERY­ONE IN­VOLVED — TIM RUT­LEDGE, NORTH YORK GEN­ERAL HOS­PI­TAL PRES­I­DENT/CEO WE FIRMLY BE­LIEVE THAT CUL­TURE IS IN­EX­TRI­CA­BLY LINKED WITH OUR VAL­UES. IT REP­RE­SENTS THE CRIT­I­CAL UN­DER­PIN­NINGS OF A HEALTHY OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION. EX­CEL­LENCE IN IN­TE­GRATED PA­TIENT CARE CAN ONLY OC­CUR IN A

J. P. MOCZULSKI FOR NA­TIONAL POST

The em­ployee com­mu­nity at North York Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, such as the Cen­tre for Education staff (above), sup­port a cor­po­rate cul­ture with a spe­cial fo­cus on ex­cel­lence, re­spect, in­tegrity and com­pas­sion for pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.

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