April 1 is the beginning of our new fiscal year. It is also when we establish annual regional priorities aligned with the provincial strategic plan for the health system. Our province has committed to a shared purpose of better health, better care, better value and better teams. The provincial strategic plan includes annual goals, multi-year improvement targets, and 5+ year goals (see http://www.finance.gov.sk.ca/PlanningAndReporting/2014-15/HealthPlan1415.pdf).

The majority of the improvements we make will continue to be achieved by the work employees and physicians do every day. In addition, based on consultation with staff and senior leaders, the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority has established the following must do/cannot fail priorities (hoshins) for 2014/15. The target date is March 31, 2015 unless otherwise stated:

  • Implement the Safety Alert/Stop the Line system at Saskatoon City Hospital and Royal University Hospital. We will continue to refine the prototype established at St. Paul’s Hospital and begin to implement this system at RUH and SCH in early fall. We will also develop a plan to replicate the system region-wide in the future. This initiative reflects our commitment to the provincial and regional goals of eliminating all harm to patients and staff;
  • Achieve provincial standards for surgical wait times by November 30, 2014. Although we have made considerable progress, we did not achieve this goal in 2013/14. We have developed a mitigation plan that will enhance OR capacity and efficiency, improve OR scheduling, more evenly distribute waitlists among surgeons, and make other changes to enhance the patient experience and reduce surgical waits.
  • Improve patient flow to ensure patients in the ED who require an inpatient bed are placed in an appropriate bed within five hours. Currently our average wait for a bed often exceeds 20 hours. Significant changes will be made to enhance access to community resources, realign our beds to better meet patient needs, reduce length of hospital stay by .6 days for targeted patient populations, and improve flow and coordination of care. This focus on improving flow and reducing waits for a bed is the sole provincial breakthrough (hoshin) for 2014/15. It is a step towards achieving the provincial target of eliminating all ED waits by March 2017.
  • Review our model of care on RUH 6200 and our pediatrics units and prototype evidence-informed care delivery processes as part of the operational planning for the Children’s Hospital. The model of care review will examine and define the role of each member of the care team and develop enhanced care processes that put patients first and reflect leading practices for admitting, transfer of care (discharge) and other care processes. Additional work related to planning for the Children’s Hospital includes construction, other operational planning, supply flow, information flow and information technology planning.
  • Invest strategically in targeted improvements to high risk areas of our infrastructure. Within available capital funding, we will make improvements to our buildings, including but not limited to Parkridge and RUH, as a well as strategic replacement of information technology.
  • Balance our budget. Allowing for inflation and population growth, our 2014/15 budget represents largely status quo, with some aggressive government targets for reducing costs through shared services, management of labour costs and other efficiencies. Our budget strategy will be submitted to the Authority and the Ministry by the end of May. We will build on the success we had this year to manage labour costs, which represent approximately 75% of operating costs, while avoiding loss of employment for our staff, as has been experienced by other major local employers. We will continue to focus on eliminating waste and increasing efficiency.

Ideally, we would only have one to three priorities. Six priorities is a lot. But that is what we need to achieve in order to meet provincial and regional targets. Over the next two months, VPs will meet with directors, managers and physicians to review our plan and determine how we will implement our plan throughout the Region. More detailed information will be provided through a variety of mechanisms over the coming weeks.

We need and count on the commitment, focus and combined efforts of all the talented and dedicated employees and physicians working across the Saskatoon Heath Region to achieve our 2014/15 priorities and our commitment to better health, better care, better value and better teams.

As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions and can be contacted directly at 306-655-7720 or maura.davies@saskatoonhealthregion.ca.

Maura Davies
President and CEO
Saskatoon Health Region.