May 08, 2018

What we learned from InnovationEX 2018

On May 4th, at the InnovationEx five-year anniversary event, several HealthPRO members showcased the amazing things that happen when you collaborate across departments.


The wide-open space, high ceilings, the burst of natural light flooding into the BMO Institute for Learning created the perfect venue for the 5th annual InnovationEx Exposition and Exchange on Friday, May 4. The challenge for this year’s organizers was finding a location that could accommodate a higher number of exhibitors than in previous years, a partner networking space, and a meeting room for close to 300 people.

“The great news is that our numbers have gone up, but none of the hospitals in the Joint Centres could accommodate that,” said Joint Centres Chair and Markham Stouffville Hospital President & CEO Jo-anne Marr.

Marr said participants felt energized in the new space and the best part was making room for even more hospital staff – something she says is essential.

Going to a different venue was just one of several ways Marr, Project Lead Brenda Fraser, and members of the Joint Centres changed up the event this year. The morning kicked off with a video about a patient story from Michael Garron Hospital, a keynote on Human Factors Analysis from Patricia Trbovich (Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, North York General Hospital), and a panel discussion with representatives from two of the Joint Centres Hospitals.


Making their pitch

Before the showcase area opened, organizers asked the exhibitors to make a 30-second Dragons’ Den-style pitch to the audience. After seeing the exhibits, delegates voted and the one with the best pitch and the best exhibit won the People’s Choice Award. Marr encouraged the audience to think about which projects could ultimately be spread to other Joint Centre hospitals. 

Exhibitors seized the chance to capture audience interest in just 30 seconds. “We’re going back to the future! No, not DeLorean, but virtual reality,” was how Mackenzie Health described their new designs for patient rooms. Humber River took to the stage with an enthusiastic “What a winter!” as a way of introducing the Breakthrough Intelligence Command Centre – an operational hub that expedited care and addressed bottlenecks and delays during the high-volume winter months.

In the end, three exhibits won the InnovationEx 2018 People’s Choice Awards:

1st Place – Breakthrough Intelligence Command Centre – Humber River Hospital

2nd Place – ShiftLink – Markham Stouffville Hospital

3rd Place – COPD Cloud Dx Project – Markham Stouffville Hospital


Want good ideas? Ask your frontline staff

You wouldn’t think that with such a large cross-section of ideas and innovation there would be a common theme – but there was. Turns out that when you ask all staff for ideas, amazing things bubble to the surface. As many exhibits showed, collaboration was the path to innovation.

A campaign at North York General Hospital (NYGH) to find a new approach to falls prevention included a public crowdsourcing campaign and a call for ideas from staff. “One of the top ideas came from a porter, who noticed that many falls occur in the middle of the night when patients get up to go to the bathroom and have to navigate their way in the dark,” said project team member Katie Anawati.

In booth after booth, the hospitals showed how including a cross-section of staff in decision-making is having transformative results. At Michael Garron Hospital, Janice Ward talked about the benefits of a short (no longer than 15 minute) daily check-in for patient safety (7 days a week) with leadership from all departments – “Who would have imagined that something as simple as this would change the culture?” she said.

A generous donation at St. Joseph’s Health Centre led to the ImagineIF Innovation Fund, a fund that encourages all staff (including students and volunteers) to pitch an innovation idea that would impact patient care and safety. “We got 50 amazing submissions and chose nine for the first two rounds,” said Project Manager An John Nguyen.


Solving the wicked and difficult problems

InnovationEX stayed true to its roots of sharing leading practices and innovation, but took a leap this year by providing even more thoughtful and engaging content. “We gravitate to policy and education, but we should be thinking more broadly,” said Marr reflecting on Trbovitch’s presentation on Human Factors Analysis.

The patient story from MGH was a reminder, she said, that “we do good work but we can do even better.”

As the crowd swirled around her, Marr concluded, “This year’s event confirmed once again that cool stuff happens on the ground in our community hospitals. We’re finding ways to solve the wicked and difficult problems.”

The Joint Centres for Transformative Healthcare Innovation is comprised of Humber River Hospital, Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH), Mackenzie Health, Michael Garron Hospital, North York General Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto.


Below is an overview of all the projects presented at this year’s InnovationEX:


Humber River Hospital

  • Breakthrough Intelligence Command Centre – The Command Centre functions much like NASA’s Mission Control – an operational hub where people and actionable information come together to expedite care, address and avoid delays and bottlenecks, and coordinate workflow and resources.
  • iPlan – iPlan is new technology that integrates hospital electronic records and brings together information from Central LHIN Hospitals, Central LHIN Home and Community Care and Resource Matching and Referral (RM&R) with the goal of capturing the flow of patients through the hospital from admission to discharge, providing real time situational awareness and improved communications to better manage patient transitions.


Mackenzie Health

  • Mackenzie Health’s HIMSS Stage 6 EMR Journey recounted the successful full suite Epic-EMR implementation, an IT project that evolved into a clinical transformation project, fully supported by the hospital operations team, swiftly adopted and accepted by clinicians, and which achieved HIMSS Stage 6 designation within weeks of going live.
  • Creating a World-Class Health Experience: One Room at a Time – In planning for the new Mackenzie-Vaughan Hospital, Mackenzie Health developed “built to scale” patient rooms with input from patients, families and clinicians, and used them to test real patient care scenarios. Delegates could view the rooms in 360°.
  • A Strategic Triple Win: Mackenzie’s Clinical Extern Program – As it prepares for the new Mackenzie-Vaughan Hospital and the expansion of the RN workforce, the organization launched a new Clinical Extern Program to encourage second and third year RN students to consider employment at the hospital upon graduation. The program also offers professional development, leadership opportunities, summer employment and practical experience in an acute care setting.


Markham Stouffville Hospital

  • COPD Cloud Dx Project – A technology-enabled, clinician-supported management program for patients with COPD – it uses technology that tracks and trends patient’s vitals and symptoms from home, as well as notifies them when clinician-determined preset limits are reached. Empowers patients to understand and manage their condition.
  • ShiftLink and Markham Stouffville Hospital – Right now healthcare support staff spend significant time trying to fill cancelled shifts. ShiftLink is a mobile and desktop application through which staff can request to claim available shifts. Results from a pilot at MSH with part-time Environmental Services staff showed a ~500% increase in administration productivity.


Michael Garron Hospital

  • The Right Fit: Engaging Patients in Recruitment has resulted in richer information for making hiring decisions. Playing the role of patient in a simulation exercise gives patients a voice, and enables a testing of a candidate’s clinical skills and their ability to build a trusting relationship with a patient.
  • Creating and Fostering a LGBTQ Inclusive Environment explains how MGH formed a unique partnership with 519 Church Street Community Centre (a centre dedicated to advocacy for the inclusion of LGBTQ communities) to ensure the hospital provides an inclusive and supportive environment for members of the LGBTQ community.
  • Checking in Daily for Patient Safety – Daily checks that occur early in the day allow senior leaders to strategize, collaborate and share information about the safety concerns in their area. It also brings awareness to resource allocation and helps to ensure organizational safety.


North York General Hospital

  • A New Approach to Falls Prevention Programs – In spite of improvements to policy and workflow, the number of falls and associated costs at NYGH remained unchanged. The hospital adopted a multi-faceted approach to improving care by collaborating with technology service providers and academia.
  • Addressing the Specialized Needs of Seniors with Multimorbidity: the KeepWell Tool is a mobile health application designed to respond to the specialized needs of seniors with multimorbidity. KeepWell considers a senior’s health priorities and generates a customized self-management plan. It also includes an Avatar coach that enhances interactivity and sustained use.


Southlake Regional Health Centre

  • Elimination of Never Events – Joint Centres Harm Reduction Project – Through the adoption of the Southlake Regional Health Centre Elimination of Never Events Model, the seven Joint Centres Hospitals have collaborated to implement interventions (Always Events) intended to eliminate pressure injuries. This model can be used to create Always Events and strategies for the remaining 14 CPSI Never Events.
  • Sterile Care – SterileCare’s KiteLock™ catheter lock solution is transforming central venous access care by providing a powerful solution to maintain patency and reduce the risk of bacterial colonization and biofilm formation within central venous access devices (CVADs).
  • Medchart is a secure, cloud-based patient portal and automated release of information process that enables patients to seamlessly obtain and share their medical records online.


St. Joseph’s Health Centre

  • Family Birthing Centre – Patient Safety Huddles – Patient-driven innovation is the focus of the work at the Family Birthing Centre. Huddles are providing opportunities for discussion about safety concerns and leading to actions that are improving quality of care.
  • ImagineIF Innovation Fund – A generous donation helped establish an innovation fund that supports staff, physicians, students and volunteers to create and implement innovative ideas that improve hospital processes and positively impact patient care and safety. The process is proving that small investments can have a big impact.


The Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC), Canada's leading provider of healthcare liability insurance was also at the event. Participants were encouraged to drop by the “Let’s Talk with HIROC” lounge to pick up resources on harm reduction and other risk management tools – and to share ideas on how teams are leading change and what healthcare innovation means to you.