A few weeks ago, my husband and I visited our younger son and daughter-in-law, who are expecting our first grandchild in April. As we discussed plans for the baby, I was struck by what a significant transition this will be for them and for all our family. Our lives are about to change in so many ways.

Saskatoon Health Region is about to undergo a major transition as well, as we adopt Lean as the foundation for our continuous improvement system, not only for Saskatoon Health Region but also for health care in the entire province. Building on a strong track record of quality improvement, we will learn new ways to improve our care and service. We will focus on improving value to our patients and families, eliminating waste (for example waits and duplication of effort), and reducing unnecessary variation in how we do things. Our work is about to change in so many ways.

We will all be learning new tools and methods to improve quality and safety. In the last two weeks, I joined more than 60 individuals to begin intense training to become certified in Lean methodology. I was part of a team that spent time in the Operating Rooms at RUH, observing, measuring and better understanding the processes that are used to prepare the operating rooms between cases. We saw wonderful examples of teamwork. We also saw opportunities to improve how our system supports patients, families and the dedicated staff and physicians who deliver care in the OR. Other colleagues spent time observing work processes in OR Holding, Sterile Processing and Distribution, Medical Imaging, the Emergency Department, Pediatric Outpatients and other areas. We all learned a lot.

To support continuous improvement in our care and services, we are also transitioning to a new organizational structure. Over the next few weeks, you will hear more details about these changes. Our new structure will help us provide better care and promote teamwork by breaking down silos, enhancing coordination regardless of whether care is provided in urban or rural, hospital or community settings. We will establish a Continuous Improvement Promotion Office and make other changes to support and build capacity for quality improvement. We will establish regional priorities for quality improvement, aligned with provincial goals, while also emphasizing continuous improvement as part of the daily work for everyone working in the Region.

The changes to our organizational structure and approach to quality improvement will take place over the next three to six months. Some changes will take place quickly, but other changes will need more time for discussion and transition planning with the affected staff.

Another transition took place in January with the retirement of Shan Landry, Vice President of Community Services. After more than 35 years working in health care, Shan has decided to pursue other interests and ways to serve her community. We wish her well as she enjoys travel, time at her cabin, and other passions. Thank you Shan for all you have done and will continue to do for your community.

Maura Davies
President & CEO
Saskatoon Health Region