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2017

North York General Hospital ups its cybersecurity
North York Mirror, Sept. 20, 2017
North York General Hospital (NYGH) is ramping up its cybersecurity.
The Leslie Street and Highway 401 hospital has partnered with Thales e-Security and IDENTOS to allow its physicians, health care staff, and patients to securely exchange critical information via a number of encrypted electronic devices including patient-owned mobile phones, medical appliances, and, ultimately, IoT devices, which are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity which allows these objects to collect and exchange data. “Before, we would rely on the user to encrypt the information and send along in a secure way,” said Sumon Acharjee, chief information officer at NYGH. “Now with this tool set, the information is already encrypted if you're on our network or off-line.”

Urban Hero: Surgeon Everton Gooden goes beyond patient care
North York Mirror, Sept. 20, 2017
Dr. Everton Gooden, an Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeon at North York General Hospital,  is the winner of Metroland's  2017 Urban Hero Winner — Health Category.
Everton Gooden's career had a humble beginning. As a student at York's George Harvey Collegiate, he was focused on sports, not academics. “I was struggling. I was getting D's and C's,” said Gooden, a winner of Metroland's Urban Hero Award for health. “I was barely keeping my head above water.” Read the article on Dr. Everton Gooden.

Art students set sights high with healing ceiling at Toronto hospital
Toronto Star, Andrea Gordon, August 13, 2017
This front-page story highlighted that that students at Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts were asked to brighten the view for North York General Hospital patients in the emergency department. The 50 pieces of ceiling artwork, roughly two feet by two feet in size, range from classical to impressionistic in style and include scenes from a starry night sky to underwater seascapes. The notion of collaborating on a ceiling tile project with local students was hatched earlier this year by Andrea Ennis, nurse and clinical team manager of North York General's emergency department. Ennis was determined to lift the spirits of the nearly 400 patients who come to the ER every day and to bring warmth to the stark hospital environment. After talking to a relative who taught art, she approached nearby Cardinal Carter, an arts-based school in the Toronto Catholic District School Board. A month later, Ennis presented her idea directly to students, who were moved by descriptions of patients she had seen. Read the complete article and see the artwork.
 
Supervisor to run BCHS
Brantford Expositor, Vincent Ball, July 26, 2017
A hospital supervisor will be appointed to operate the Brant Community Healthcare System following the release of a 66-page report critical of the health-care system's senior leadership and governance. The health ministry's announcement follows a recommendation made by Dr. Tim Rutledge, who was appointed by the ministry to review all operations of the Brant health-care system in February. Rutledge, president and CEO of North York General Hospital, submitted his report, which includes 17 key recommendations, to the government on June 28. Read the complete article on the Brantford Expositor.

Bathurst and Finch clinic closing less than two months after opening
North York Mirror, Fannie Sunshine, July 25, 2017
Less than two months after opening, the Westminster-Branson Primary Care Clinic is closing.The walk-in clinic opened June 1 inside the Branson Ambulatory Care Centre near Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue, replacing the former Urgent Care Centre (UCC) which area residents had rallied at Queen's Park to keep open. The UCC managed urgent illness or injury that isn't life-threatening, such as broken bones and cuts. The Westminster-Branson Primary Care Clinic, which operated Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and was staffed by one physician, will close Friday, July 28 due to “low patient volumes,” North York General Hospital, which operates the site, said in a message on its website Monday, July 24. Read the complete story on InsideToronto.com.

Hospitals performing private cosmetic operations despite delays for necessary surgeries
National Post, Tom Blackwell, July 10, 2017
...The Post contacted a sample of 19 hospitals or health regions to ask about their experience with cosmetic surgery, all but three responding. Eleven said they allow from a few to scores of cosmetic procedures every year. North York General in Toronto, for instance, said that 168 aesthetic procedures were performed in 2016, out of 16,000 operations. The cosmetic work did not bump any medically necessary treatment, said spokeswoman Nadia Daniell-Colarossi. “NYGH was not funded to run the ORs for the times that the (non-medicare) procedures took place, which allows us to make those ORs available,” she said. In fact, Daniell-Colarossi said North York has among the best surgical wait-times in Ontario.

Blood glucose testing offers little value to some Type 2 diabetes patients: study
CBC News, June 13, 2017
Dr. Kimberley Wintemute, Family and Community Medicine Department at North York General Hospital, says there has been several studies showing that at-home glucose testing doesn't add value to a Type 2 patient's care. She believes patients have been conditioned to believe that more data is going to mean better results. But testing can also create anxiety for patients who may obsess about their numbers, and the test strips can be costly. Instead, she says those with Type 2 diabetes should focus on everyday activities known to improve overall health: things like exercising daily, managing portion sizes at meal times, and avoiding smoking and drinking. Read the complete story on the CBC website.

North York General Hospital receives 2017 Patient Safety Champion award recognizing its innovative approach to Never Events
Canadian Patient Safety Institute, News, June 13, 2017 
North York General Hospital is the 2017 recipient of the Patient Safety Champion Award for organizations. Presented annually by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, HealthCareCAN, and Patients for Patient Safety Canada, the Patient Safety Champion Award recognizes volunteers and organizations that are taking a leadership role in ensuring that patients and families are at the centre of patient safety initiatives. The prominent Award was presented at the National Health Leadership Conference in Vancouver, on June 12, 2017. Read the complete article on the Patient Safety Institute website.

Branson closure major loss for community: advocacy group
North York Mirror, Rahul Gupta, June 8, 2017
A spokesperson for an advocacy group said the upcoming closure of the Branson Ambulatory Care Centre represents a major loss for the Bathurst-Finch community. Kenneth Schafer said he’s unsure how North York General Hospital will be able to effectively treat patients following the shuttering of the Centre, located at 555 Finch Ave. W., by 2019. The hospital had announced earlier this year it will close down Branson, which it leased from Advent Corporation for 19 years, and transfer services to its main hospital campus and other locations within the area. “The (Westminster-Branson) community has come to rely on the services the centre offers all in one spot,” said Schafer, co-chair of the Branson Community Action Group (BCAG) which met with NYGH leadership this week to discuss the closure. “If services are spread out, they will be more difficult to access.” Read the complete article on InsideToronto.com.

Dr. Desmond Leung discusses palliative care

Metro Morning, CBC Radio, May 9, 2017
Dr. Desmond Leung, Palliative Care Physician with the Freeman Centre for the Advancement of Palliative Care, discusses the benefits of early palliative care in a patient's life with Metro Morning Host Matt Galloway. Listen to the interview.

North York residents protest urgent care centre's closure
May 10, 2017, Inside Toronto and City News
Chanting "Hospitals Not Condos" and "We Need Urgent Care" more than 40 people gathered on the sidewalks in front of the Branson Ambulatory Care Centre tonight to protest the proposed closure of its Urgent Care Centre. Read the complete Inside Toronto article.
View the City News vdeo clip.

How Toronto's North York General made progress against overcrowding
Toronto Star, Michael Tutton, Canadian Press, May 5, 2017
Five times a day, senior managers at Toronto's North York General get alerts on the ever-rising tide of patients arriving at the hospital's emergency department. The updates are colour-coded — and too many “red status” alerts prompt immediate action, with managers huddling with nurses and doctors to find space on medical units. It's just one tactic used to make inroads against overcrowding in one of Canada's busiest emergency rooms. From a “bed traffic control room” to a special outpatient clinic that strives to keep patients out of hospital, chief executive Dr. Tim Rutledge, a veteran ER doctor himself, cautions there's no single way to drop wait times for the 107,000 patients arriving each year. “It's hundred and hundreds of small projects getting to the root causes,” he said during an interview. Read the complete article in the Toronto Star.

Toronto residents angered over Urgent Care Centre closing
Inside Toronto, Fannie Sunshine, April 27, 2017
Residents of the Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue area came out to a community meeting in droves, angrily opposing the closure of the area's urgent care centre and crying foul over what they claim is a lack of provincial representation on this issue. About 150 people attended the meeting at Northview Heights Secondary School Monday, April 24 organized by Branson Community Action Group (BCAG), an ad hoc group formed after North York General Hospital (NYGH) announced in March it's shutting down its Branson Ambulatory Care Centre, after opting out of a lease renewal with landlord Advent Health Care Corporation. Read the complete article.

Residents oppose closure of Branson urgent care centre in North York
CBC News, Muriel Draaisma, April 25, 2017
Residents in northern Toronto say they are upset about the impending closure of an urgent health care centre run by North York General Hospital that serves their area. The residents attended a town hallon the closure of the Urgent Care Centre at the hospital's Branson Ambulatory Care Centre, 555 Finch Ave W.. The closure is schedule for June 2017. The Branson centre is one of the hospital's three sites. The urgent care centre, one of many services provided at the Branson centrein the Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue West area, provides emergency care for non-life threatening, urgent illnesses or injuries. Read the complete article on the CBC website.

North York General Hospital is revolutionizing health care at home
InsideToronto, April 24, 2017
Among the shortest emergency wait times in Toronto, recognized by Cancer Care Ontario for the shortest surgical wait times for three years in a row (time from decision to treatment), and home to internationally recognized programs and expert physicians, North York General Hospital (NYGH) is revolutionizing health care in our city – right here in your own backyard. Read the complete article to see the physicians highlighted.

Urgent Care Centre closing
CTV News, April 24, 2017
On April 24, a local city councillor held a resident-led town hall to obtain and organize public input on Branson Ambulatory Care Centre, a site of North York General Hospital. CTV News interviewed President and CEO, Dr. Tim Rutledge with regards to the transition. See the CTV video clip.

Toronto marks third annual Community Hospitals Week
Special week spreads awareness of quality care, close to home
Inside Toronto, April 20, 2017
Next week (April 24-28) is the third annual Community Hospitals Week in Toronto, highlighting the important role community hospitals have in delivering world-class care close to home. Mayor John Tory offered his support in a statement for the week’s designation, but Metroland Media Toronto also heard from the leaders of our community hospital foundations about their role in our health care... “Community hospitals are often top of mind for emergency care, but most people are surprised to discover that they also provide highly-specialized care,” said Terry Pursell, president and CEO of the North York General Foundation. “With internationally recognized programs and expert physicians and staff, North York General Hospital is revolutionizing health care in our city — right here in your own backyard.” Read the complete article.

Unnecessary care in Canada tops 1 million tests and treatments a year

1st national picture emerges of unnecessary scans in hospitals, heavy prescribing to kids for insomnia By Amina Zafar,
CBC News, Posted: April 06, 2017 8:00 AM ET Last Updated: April 07, 2017 12:05 AM ET
Canadians undergo more than a million medical tests or treatments a year that don't help and may be harmful, a new report suggests. The report, Unnecessary Care in Canada, was released Thursday by Choosing Wisely Canada, a campaign to reduce unnecessary use of health care, and by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).Read the article on the CBC website in which Dr. Donna McRitchie, Vice-President of Medical and Academic Affairs, is quoted. Read the article on the CBC website in which Dr. Donna McRitchie, Vice-President of Medical and Academic Affairs, is quoted.

Genetic anti-discrimination law protects patient privacy without sacrificing research
CBC, March 10, 2017
An unusual vote in the House of Commons that saw Liberal backbench MPs defy the prime minister and his cabinetby uniting with opposition parties to pass a bill outlawing genetic discrimination has come as a relief to Clare Gibbons. "I'm so happy and pleasantly surprised, because when you're looking at it, you're not sure which way it's going to go," said Gibbons, a genetic counsellor at Toronto's North York General Hospital. Bill S-201,the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, prohibits anyone from requiring a person to undergo or reveal the results of a genetic test as a condition of employment or before selling that person a good or service, such as life or disability insurance. The maximum punishment for breaking the law is a fine of$1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for five years. Read the complete article on the CBC website.

How volunteers are donating more than just time
Hospital News, April 1, 2017
From knitting newborn hats and making quilts to fundraising for the hospital's equipment and a state-of-the-art Medical Imaging unit. More than 800 volunteers at North York General Hospital (NYGH) are definitely doing it all to help raise necessary funds to support staff and physicians at the hospital in making a world of difference for the patients they serve. Read the complete Hospital News article.

Paper and electronic hybrid is the next evolution in quality boards
Hospital News by Jennifer Quaglietta and Talha Hussain, March 9, 2017
North York General Hospital (NYGH) has placed a strong emphasis on continuous quality improvement for well over a decade. This culture has made NYGH a leader in adopting health care information technology that has significantly improved patient safety and the quality of care we provide. One of the building blocks to successful quality improvement is measurement and reporting back. Several years ago paper-based Quality Boards were launched on every patient unit along with support services program to provide frontline staff (clinical team managers, unit coordinators, nurses, nurse educators and allied health staff) with recent hospital data related to patient safety and quality. Read the complete article on quality boards in Hospital News.

North York General Hospital closing Branson Ambulatory Care Centre
North York Mirror, Fannie Sunshine, March 7
North York General Hospital (NYGH) is shutting down its Branson Ambulatory Care Centre after opting out of a lease renewal.
After leasing the Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue property from Advent Health Care Corporation for the last 19 years, NYGH's lease will expire in 2019.
In a letter on NYGH's website Wednesday, March 1, hospital president and CEO Tim Rutledge noted the “transfer of services” to its Leslie Street and Hwy. 401 General site will begin June 1 with the closing of the Urgent Care Centre. Learn more about the closing of Branson Ambulatory Care Centre.

Ontario appoints investigator for the Brant Community Healthcare System
Feb. 21, 2017,
MOHLTC news release, News.Ontario.ca                                      
Ontario has appointed Dr. Tim Rutledge as an investigator for the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS), to review the hospital's operations and ensure it is delivering the best possible care to patients and families in the region. Dr. Rutledge will work closely with the hospital, the community, key stakeholders and the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to examine and review issues concerning the management and governance of BCHS. Read the news release on Dr. Tim Rutledge's appointment.

'They want to go home with a healthy baby': A Canadian obstetrician helps MSF deliver maternal care in Pakistan
MSF Canada, Feb. 10, 2017. This article was originally published in Hospital News.
The author, Dr. Karthika Devarajanis, is an obstetrician at North York General Hospital in Toronto.
I have always been interested in global health, but medical training takes up a lot of time in the beginning. I did some international work here and there, but eventually, I reached a point where my career was stable, and I wanted to try something new. Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MS) has an incredible reputation for delivering good medical care where it is needed the most and I felt that I finally had the experience, but also still had the energy, to work with them. A colleague covered my practice and I went to work as an MSF obstetrician gynecologist for 6 weeks, long enough to do something worthwhile, but short enough not to derail my practice at home. Read the complete article.
 
North York General Hospital lands 2016 HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award
Healthcare IT News, Jessica Davis, February 1, 2017
HIMSS is recognizing North York General for its clinical decision support, computerized provider order entry and closed-loop medication administration initiatives that improved patient outcomes. In naming Ontario-based North York General Hospital a HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence recipient, HIMSS noted the award recognizes outstanding achievement in leveraging health IT to improve patient outcomes. “The challenge of implementing change of this scope and scale was immense, but possible, thanks to great teamwork and a constant focus on the quality and safety benefits we are celebrating today,” NYGH President and CEO, Tim Rutledge, MD, said in a statement. “Receiving the Davies Award is a reflection of the commitment to excellence of our people, the staff and physicians who made it happen.” Read the complete article on NYGH's HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award.

North York General Hospital's Holiday Toy Drive

 

Snapd North York, February 2017
While December can be a magical time, it can often be difficult for young patients and families staying at hospitals here in North York over the holidays. To lift their spirits, our local MPP for Don Valley East Michael Coteau, along with City of Toronto Fire Department Station 116 and North York General Hospital(NYGH) staff came together to make a special delivery of donated toys to the children staying at NYGH over the holidays. Read the complete article and see photos in the Feb. 2017 issue of snapd North York .

North York General puts patients at the heart of care with Supportive Cardiology Clinic
North York Mirror, January 30, 2017
By the time Agostinho Albuquerque was in his early 50s, he had significant blockage throughout his arteries and was not a candidate for bypass surgery. He survived three heart attacks and suffered from advanced congestive heart failure and arrhythmia. He lived much longer than his cardiologist – and his family – ever dreamed. But in July 2014, his condition worsened and his care was re-evaluated as palliative. Read the complete article at InsideToronto.com.

Choosing Wisely: how the UK intends to reduce harmful medical overuse
BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) Published January 26, 2017
...Wendy Levinson, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and chair of Choosing Wisely Canada, told The BMJ that the focus of its campaign was not to save costs but to avoid harm and reduce waste. She said that the campaign is working with the Canadian Institute for Health Information to get provincial and national measures to evaluate Choosing Wisely but this takes time. However, she said that some hospitals have seen impressive results. “For example, North York General, a hospital in Toronto, changed its order sets in the emergency department and reduced laboratory tests by 31%, with no impact on quality of care or patient outcomes.” Read the complete BMJ article.

Hospitals to accept visitors 24/7
CTV News, Air date January 17, 2017
North York General Hospital was featured on CTV News and Karyn Popovich, Vice President, Clinical Programs, Quality & Risk, CNE was interviewed. Karyn doesn't anticipate the need for additional staffing, just appropriate policies. “When the care teams come to do their rounds, it's helpful to help them understand some of the instructions or medical care and decisions that they need to make,” says Karyn. The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement says that 24/7 visiting hours make the transition from hospital to home easier which reduces readmission back into the hospital, they believe it is good for the patient, families and the healthcare system. Watch the video.