Deb Johnston was nine years old when entered the health care system. She draws on her experiences to help create Saskatchewan’s new maternal and children’s hospital.

Emergency Services team members look over their 3D design for the new adult and pediatric emergency department for Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan. The model was created during the second 3P event for the new maternal and children’s hospital.

“The changes taking place are awesome, in the true sense of the word awesome. They are mind-boggling,” says Johnston. “When you are a child and when you are sick in the hospital that stays with you for the rest of your life. So, anything that can be done to make that experience positive, there are no words to explain this.”

Johnston, along with other patients and parents joined staff, physicians and Health Region leaders in a north end warehouse to design parts of the new hospital in the latest 3P event. 3P is a tool used in continuous improvement. It focuses on creating revolutionary change and involves five days of intense work and commitment.

In November, the focus was on maternal services and pediatric surgery. In December, it was pediatric and emergency services turn. The key was having patients and families sitting at the table along with a strong team from support services such as linen, housekeeping, pharmacy and diagnostic imaging.

Dr. Laurentiu Givelichian, interim head of pediatrics and 3P team leader, says everyone working together was key to success. “At the beginning of the week, I was a little bit suspicious and I didn’t have 100% trust in the process,” he admits. “At the end of it, I can say I feel rejuvenated. This process has truly proven to help us design the hospital.”
The teams’ designs are now with the hospital’s architects. Architects will reconnect with the groups in mid-January to show the updated early floor plans.

Meanwhile, staff and physicians involved in these events know the work has only just begun.
“We are doing our best to try and create a system that flows, that works good, but we can’t be the place for admitted patients,” says Dr. James Stempien, physician lead for Emergency Services and 3P team leader. “If we see system wide change where patients are able to get up to beds and given care they need then this is going to be great, but without that it’s going to be very difficult.”

Health Region leaders will now be planning for how to implement needed process improvements. Some will be tackled through rapid process improvement workshops (RPIWs). Those are similar to 3P events, but on a smaller scale. Training is expected to start in January. The work will ramp up over the next three to four months.

“I think if there is one thing we have learned it is that this is not a small change, it is a whole system change,” says Jackie Mann, Executive Sponsor – Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan and VP Acute Care. “That is why we have had senior leaders involved in these events because we know as we go forward this is going to take our whole system.”
It’s this new future that has Deb Johnston excited.

“When I was a kid, it was like you are on the titanic and you got from A to B and you know what happened to the titanic,” she explains. “But with this concept, it is bringing us almost to a stage like star trek. So from Titanic going from A to B to ‘beam me up Scotty’, it is really incredible.”

To learn more about the work underway, visit Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan website at and watch the latest video on 3P.