General Express April 2015

GGH, Conestoga College and Information Builders form innovative partnership
Back row (l-r) : Joe Walsh (IBI), Doug Mitchell, Director Decision Support, Justin St-Maurice Conestoga College, Gavin Webb, VP Finance and CFO/CIO, David Dornan, Decision Support
Front row: Tara Myshrall (IBI), Hashim Garsi, student, Corrie Fox, student, Sydney Reeve, student, Yvonne Chan, Information Technology.

Conestoga College’s Bachelor of Applied Health Information Science is a 4-year undergraduate degree teaching essential knowledge and skills in clinical information, business analysis, data quality, database and web application development, and issues in health care.

Last fall, David Dornan and Doug Mitchell from GGH’s Decision Support department with Justin St-Maurice, a faculty member at Conestoga, brainstormed an opportunity to jointly teach a course in Business Intelligence (BI). BI is the science and practice of analyzing and presenting information to support health care decisions and provide feedback on organizational processes. With support and sponsorship from our BI solution vendor, Information Builders (IBI), a unique accelerated course was created blending theory with technical skills.

The course was delivered to second-year students from January through March with amazing outcomes. Three students (Sydney Reeve, Hashim Garsi, and Corrie Fox) were selected for a 17-day placement in April to develop information solutions related to attendance/sick time, eLearning, and respirator fit testing. On April 24, they presented their work to rave reviews! On May 27, the solutions will be launched at DAISY Day at GGH, a launch party for the next generation DAISY portal!

Additional funding was obtained through an ongoing partnership with the Guelph Family Health Team to continue the students’ contribution to GGH until August 2015. This project, dubbed ‘DAISYLink’, will support the development of analytics to understand the challenges and enhance discharge planning from acute to primary care. As a result of the course, our relationship with our BI vendor is better than ever. Furthermore, the course will be enhanced and offered again to next year’s cohort, continuing the cycle of innovation and partnerships.

On hand to help celebrate Ruth's award were (l-r)Dianne Steinke, President of the Volunteer Association, Ruth, Marianne Walker, GGH President and CEO and Suzanne Bone, CEO The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital.
Volunteer of the Year named

At our annual volunteer appreciation luncheon to mark National Volunteer Week, we named our Mary Hales “Volunteer of the Year.” This year’s winner was Ruth Thatcher.

Ruth began her commitment as a candy striper during her teen years and then returned as an adult volunteer in 1968. During her 47 years at Guelph General Hospital Ruth has held a number of positions, some of which have included volunteering for an Art Show, Card Parties, Tea Convener, Fashion Show, Penny Table Sales, and Black Tie Bingo.

Ruth was a board member with The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital as well as the Volunteer Association of Guelph General Hospital.

She has volunteered in the day surgery department and is currently a volunteer in the Courtyard Boutique.

The Guelph General Hospital Volunteer Association has over 240 volunteers who provide support for 20 services throughout the hospital. Its volunteers contribute in excess of 20,000 hours of service each year.

Dr. Doré wins first ever Champions of Telemedicine Award

The Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) is recognizing 16 leaders across Ontario with its Champions of Telemedicine Award. This inaugural award acknowledges the outstanding efforts of leaders in each of the 14 Ontario LHINs, a provincial leader, and a leader within Ontario’s aboriginal community. GGH’s own Dr. Marcel Doré was named winner in our Waterloo Wellington LHIN.

Dr. Doré is a Hospitalist here and an Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University’s Department of Family Medicine. He is an active participant in helping to improve the delivery of care to patients in hospital and has done so by adopting room-based telemedicine. He also improves care delivery through his leadership at the Canadian Society of Hospital Medicine, through teaching with the Waterloo Regional Campus of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and through Quality Improvement initiatives in the Department of Hospital Medicine at GGH.

According to the OTN, the winners of their award are individuals who have led the adoption of OTN’s telemedicine solutions across the province. Their hard work, dedication and commitment to integrating innovative technologies into their communities has formed one of the largest networks of connected care providers in the world, and has enabled a new model of care – one that advances the way Ontario delivers quality, patient-centred care. 

Congratulations Dr. Doré!

Guelph General Hospital Lifeline Celebrates 25 Years of Supporting Seniors

The numbers related to older adults and falls are staggering. One in three Canadians over age 65 will experience a fall this year, and older adults who fall once are two to three times as likely to fall again within a year.

For over 40 years, Philips Lifeline has provided easy, fast access to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at the push of a button. Philips Lifeline is proud to be the leading medical alert provider in Canada and the exclusive medical alert provider for Guelph General Hospital for 25 years.

“Guelph General Hospital Lifeline Program currently serves over 800 subscribers in the community. We provide peace of mind for the entire family,” explains Wendy Alberts of Guelph General Hospital Lifeline. “Independent living is a top priority for aging seniors. Family caregivers need to know their loved ones can access help quickly when they’re not there.”

Lifeline is an ideal solution for patients at risk for falls. Lifeline with AutoAlert option automatically calls for help if someone can’t push their button because they are disoriented, immobilized, or unconscious. When seniors experience a fall or other emergency, every second counts. Delayed medical care can jeopardize their recovery and independence. In 2014 alone, 97 falls in subscribers’ homes in the Guelph area were detected by Lifeline with AutoAlert.

With Lifeline, seniors are less likely to rely on EMS for protection and care. The following are the 2014 Lifeline stats for the Guelph area:

Revenue from the Lifeline program is reinvested back to Guelph General Hospital. Over the past 40 years, Lifeline has reinvested more than $12 million back into the Canadian healthcare system through exclusive partnership programs with hospitals and community agencies.

Valerie Anderson, Director Clinical Information Services and Chief Privacy Officer, stands beside the Privacy display set up outside the Bistro.

Privacy Matters - introducing a new feature in General Express

April was declared Privacy Month at GGH and saw the launching of the new mandatory, privacy e-learning module: Confidentiality and Privacy of Personal Health Information. Each employee must complete this module as part of his or her annual privacy training. The module’s goals include; understanding the privacy principles for handling patient information, knowing each staff’s accountability and the consequences of a privacy breach, and applying the protection of personal health information inside and outside of the hospital.

Social Media is filled with pitfalls when it comes to privacy.

Recently, an article about nurses, social media and "keeping it professional" appeared in Scrubs magazine. There's lots of good advice that can apply to everyone at the Hospital. Click here for the article.

On April 16, one of our hospital lawyers, Paula Trattner, conducted two well-attended privacy sessions. She shared the latest information and answered questions regarding privacy in the hospital and beyond.

Clinical Information Services is revising the privacy section on the Hospital’s web site to make it more user friendly for patients and visitors who want information on privacy and release of information.

“Privacy Matters” will be a regular feature of the General Express and will review current privacy issues and practices.

GGH's Dr. Ian Digby recently featured in WWLHIN publication:

Implementing Best Practices to Shorten ED Wait Times
Meet Dr. Ian Digby, Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network Emergency Department Physician Lead 

Dr. Ian Digby comes from a family of doctors. He is the 5th generation of physicians in his family.

Upon completing high school, it was no surprise for Ian to study undergraduate Science Studies at the University of Toronto, followed by a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Calgary in 1996. He then completed his Canadian College of Family Physicians, Family Practice residency and in 2005, he received a special certificate in Emergency Medicine from the Canadian College of Family Physicians.

Since September 2013, Ian has been the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) Emergency Department Lead. In his role, he works closely with members of the Emergency Department Integrated Program Council to develop new models for integration of Emergency Care in Waterloo Wellington. He also tours local Emergency Departments (ED) to help identify successful practices that can be implemented elsewhere and find areas for improvement.

Dr. Digby (left) is pictured last year helping to promote the initiative, "Every Minute Matters," to other physicians.

“In 2008 to 2009, we did a project across the LHIN in all the hospitals. It was the first time we started to implement “lean” methods to make ourselves more efficient and to improve quality of care and we had a dramatic change after instituting those methods,” says Ian.

With regards to wait times in the Emergency Department, Ian points out that: “One of the main concerns of residents visiting our EDs is wait times. We have really come a long way in our region in reducing wait times “In April 2008, the time a patient waited to see a physician or nurse practitioner, for 9 out of 10 patients, was 4.1 hours. This time peaked at 5.5 hours in April 2012. Since then, improvements that have been made at local emergency departments have reduced this to 3.4 hours currently.”

He added: “Congratulations to the managers, directors and front-line workers in our hospitals who have worked so hard to improve care for residents. We will continue to work on best practices to shorten wait times.”

Ian has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at Guelph General Hospital (GGH) since 2011 where he collaborates with physicians, nursing staff and administration to ensure quality of patient care in a high-volume ED. His other portfolios at GGH include the Mental Health Quality and Operations Team and he is a longstanding executive member of Guelph Emergency Medical Services.

He participated in a research project through the Improving and Driving Excellence Across Sectors (IDEAS) initiative which looked at best practice and patient experience in emergency care: “This training armed me with new skills in quality improvement to contribute to best practice care,” he said.

Ian has presented at various conferences on GGH’s ED process improvement. His membership includes; being an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University, a member of the Canadian College of Family Physicians, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Canadian Medical Protective Association, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians and the Canadian Medical Association/Ontario Medical Association.

Outside work, Ian is involved in a number of community activities. He is an Assistant Scouter with Guelph 1st Saint James Troop, and was a board member of Trillium Waldorf School and the Guelph Jazz Festival. In 2009, he received the Guelph Mercury Top Forty Under Forty Award for community volunteerism. He has been to West Africa - Mali, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.

Ian lives in Guelph and enjoys spending time with his wife Susan and two children. If he is not in the ED, you can find him outdoors – canoeing, hiking, running or biking.

Celebrating the contribution of our Lab during National Medical Laboratory Week

The purpose of the week in April was to highlight the vital role of medical laboratory professionals in Canada's health care system.  Lab professionals are an essential part of the patient care system but their work is done behind closed doors so the public and even other health care providers do not really understand how valuable it is.

The lab's floor plan gives a sense of the true complexity of the department.
Bob Clayborne, Director Laboratory Services, holds a particularly large gall stone.

Lab tests are crucial tools regularly used by medical practitioners to diagnose, monitor and treat patients. Each test provides vital information that guides medical decisions. Without lab tests, and the professionals to conduct them, quality patient care is impossible.

Members of the lab team at GGH include:

Medical Laboratory Assistants/Technicians
Laboratory Clerical Staff
Medical Laboratory Technologists

A few quick facts about our lab:

The lab is composed of seven different areas: Lab Administration, Specimen Procurement, Chemistry, Hematology, Transfusion Services, Anatomical Pathology and Microbiology
The lab has 55 staff members
The GGH lab processes approximately 45,000 specimens per month
The GGH Core Lab runs approximately 80,000 tests per month
GGH Pathology staff process and issue pathology reports for approximately 900 tissue specimens each month.
The Microbiology department processes approximately 700 Blood Cultures each month. 

An update from our high performing MRI department

submitted by Jennifer Meher, Team Lead MRI

I wanted to follow up on last year's story in General Express on MRI. Here we are one year later and we are maintaining our efficiency and providing effective care to each of the over 15,000 patients we see through MRI every year.

At the end of our story a year ago we said we were going to take our process on the road and share with other healthcare centres.  Well we have! Over the last year GGH MRI has presented to more than six other centres with the most recent being Windsor Health. They had formed a MRI team to look at processes and had recognized our metrics and wanted to know about what was working for us.  We’ve also presented to Grand River, Cambridge and other hospitals in our LHIN. Since then their metrics have increased. This is a very proud moment for us in MRI.

A recent patient experience survey we conducted in MRI came back with over 95% of our patients feeling like they had received compassionate care and been part of a great team.

In and around GGH


In certain circles, 88 year-old Vicky Le Duc is affectionately known as “The Blanket Lady”. It’s a well-deserved title considering that for the past three years she’s made and generously donated over 1,000 brightly-coloured crib blankets bringing warmth and comfort to GGH’s youngest patients.

GGH Nurses, Nicole Ascoti (left) and Lori Chandler, show off some of the quilts. Both agree that “the blankets brighten up a room and give the children good memories to take home with them.”

Guelph Fire Department was on hand recently to observe a Mock Evacuation on 4 West. Staff posing as patients were evacuated horizontally. In the end, GGH got a high score and lots of positive comments about how well we did.

In the photos, Firefighters made numerous notes on the exercise while on the right, patient room doors are marked with the red tab signifying they have been searched.

It seemed the entire Bariatric program was on hand to help send off Audrey Rae (left) to her retirement.

Audrey had been with GGH since 1973 and her retirement was even profiled in the Guelph Tribune.

For years, our roadside sign read, "Visitors Welcome - 2 to 8 p.m."

With the recent change to our visiting policy, the sign is a much better reflection of GGH's commitment to providing the best possible experience for patients and their families.

Gifts of Gratitude stories from thankful patients keep arriving

“Thanks to all the doctors, nurses and technicians involved in diagnosing my incarcerated bowel when I came to the ER in agony, especially Dr. Bishop and team. I would have died without their timely care.” That’s what we heard from Dr. Bill Gardner when he sent us a Gift of Gratitude in appreciation for the care he received.

From diagnosis in the Emergency Department through surgery and recovery, Dr. Gardner interacted with many members of the GGH team, and a number of different pieces of equipment were vital to his care. These pieces of specialized equipment are the tools our caregivers need to help them save lives and improve health, and many of them were funded by donors like you.

One important piece of equipment is the IV pump. For Dr. Gardner, it was a lifeline during the entire time he was at the Hospital. From administering anaesthetics and keeping him hydrated prior to surgery, to delivering antibiotics and pain medication while he was recovering, IV pumps were an integral part of his care.

This year, the Hospital must update its entire suite of IV pumps – something that won’t be possible without community support. You can read more about Dr. Gardner’s story, and the IV pumps that are so important for our patients, in our upcoming spring mail appeal.

We brought patient and physician together to take a photograph for this article and our upcoming mailing. Dr. Gardner was able to express his appreciation in person, and Dr. Bishop was able to see the impact of his and the GGH team’s work in the form of a healthy-looking former patient. All in all, a happy ending.

Tour de Guelph returning Sunday July 5

Join us for the second annual Tour de Guelph in support of GGH and local Rotary Club projects. This family-friendly bicycling event has something for everyone, with routes ranging from 5k to 100k.  for more information.


A brand new golf tournament to help support GGH

Monday, June 1 at Cutten Fields. Call the Foundation for more information x6422.