Stew Slater, St. Marys Journal Argus
A collaborative initiative between the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) and some London-area hospitals was one of three winners in the first-ever Quality Awards program of the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
The awards were announced Thursday, May 31 at the LHIN’s second annual Quality Symposium, once again held at the Stratford Rotary Complex.
A year ago, the LHIN hosted its first symposium on the same day as a province-wide organization of health sector labour unions was meeting in a different Stratford conference room. With a keynote speaker from England who offered his take on how that country’s healthcare system worked to improve quality of care while cutting overall costs, the LHIN meeting drew a crowd of placard-carrying union protesters worried about hospital cutbacks.
This year, by contrast, there were no protesters. And the general message from the line-up of speakers was less about buckling down financially and more about using technology and partnerships to improve efficiency.
“You’ll notice that from all three of the awards we handed out today they all highlight the great work that can be done through partnerships,” said South West LHIN CEO Michael Barrett.
Originally, there were supposed to be just two awards handed out – one for “Population Based Integrated Health Services Delivery” and one for “Centrally Coordinated Resource Capacity.” But, from nominations submitted by the many service providers funded through the LHIN, the awards committee couldn’t decide on a winner in the “Centrally Coordinated Resource Capacity” category.
So the HPHA’s Regional Hip Fracture Project ended up tied for the first-ever award with a project called “eShift.”
The aim of the Hip Fracture Project was to have all participating hospitals achieve the Ontario Ministry of Health target of operating on 90 per cent of hip fractures within 48 hours of admission. When the project began, the rate of operation within that time frame ranged from 55-70 per cent.
A video, featuring London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) senior consultant Ilya Bogorad, was played during last Thursday’s awards ceremony. In the video, Bogorad explains that there are three to four cases of hip fractures daily in the entire South West LHIN.
He added that, if a patient is operated on within 48 hours of admission, their prognosis for swift recovery is much better. This translates into fewer healthcare resources used up for complicated recoveries, and more resources available for other patients or other projects.
“Obviously, (quick operation times) are very good for the patient, but they’re also very, very good for the system,” Bogorad said in the video.
The eShift program, meanwhile, uses smartphone technology first used by the LHIN for children who are reliant on personal support workers (PSWs). For some time, registered nurses have been able to communicate with the PSWs by mobile phone, meaning they don’t always have to visit the child to make decisions.
Under eShift, a similar program is being implemented for end-of-life care for patients remaining in their own homes under the care of PSWs.
As a result of the project, the in-home coverage that used to require five registered nurses can now be done by one.
The Quality Award winner in the other category, meanwhile, was the LHSC’s Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Project, which has been rolled out across the South West and Erie St. Clair LHINs.