Last year, physicians and staff at Queensway Carleton Hospital made over 730 improvements to the care we provide. This is part of the hospital’s continuous performance improvement system (CPI), which uses LEAN Management philosophy, structures and tools.
Here are some examples — big and small — of improvements made over the last year.
Reducing wait times for MRIs
A centralized intake process now helps connect outpatient referrals to 10 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) locations across the region, improving the use of resources and optimizing scanning times. This provides easier and more equitable access to MRI services by reducing the variability in wait times between sites. Patients and their Physician can now choose a centre with the shortest wait or one closest to home.
Two major renovations have big impact
Last year two in-patient units were completely renovated head-to-toe, adding more private and semi-private rooms, accessible bathrooms, computer stations, brighter hallways and patient lounges. Our D4 surgical unit and C4 medicine unit were both located in our oldest building, a 40 year-old building much in need of upgrading. We couldn’t magically expand the hallways, but it’s still a remarkable transformation that has improved the patient experience.
Diversity at QCH
Diversity extends beyond race and ethnicity — spanning language, gender, religion, sexual orientation, abilities and economic status. It helps us be a stronger organization and provide better care. QCH actively seeks to enrich its culture, and added several initiatives this year, including job fairs for new Canadians, indigenous training for staff, and representation from Muslim and Jewish communities in our spiritual care service. Our Ethics Committee included diversity discussions as part of its agenda, and we implemented cultural sensitively training for new hires. We still have work to do, of course, and have recently surveyed staff on what improvements we should focus on next.
Fostering a safety culture
A new incident reporting tool launched in May, making it easier for frontline staff to report any safety incidents and for the hospital to investigate and implement appropriate interventions. The system helps improve patient safety and gives our staff the ability to influence change. The data can be analyzed and used to guide proactive improvements.
Saving lives one sniff at a time
QCH took an extra step in its battle against infectious diseases — bringing in Angus, the C. Difficile sniffing dog. Angus is an internationally awarded, specially trained dog. C. Difficile can pose a serious threat to sick or elderly patients, so Angus was brought in as an extra (cute) measure to keep our patients safe, showing staff all the different nooks and crannies the bacteria can hide.
Our Emergency Department hired their first therapy dog in November as part of a new patient therapy program. This program was the first in the province, modeled off a similar one in Saskatoon. The therapy dog, Harley Quinn, visits patients once a week, offering them comfort. The program has since been suspended due to COVID-19 but we hope to resume the program soon.