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2009 Quality and Innovation Awards


Innovative Cancer Health Leaders Honoured in Ontario

Health system front line providers were recognized for their contributions towards improving cancer care at the fourth annual Quality and Innovation Awards on Dec 2.

“All of this year’s winners have demonstrated outstanding contributions towards improving patient care by driving system innovations or improving the quality of cancer services in Ontario,” said Bob Bell, Chair, Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.

This year’s Quality Awards honoured the following recipients:

  • Dr. Joseph Wasielewski for his work in transforming laboratory testing for cancer patients at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Wasielewski’s leadership allowed for better, safer, more timely access to laboratory testing for cancer patients through satellite blood collection, improved processes and standardized, and evidence based synoptic pathology reporting for cancer patients. This transition led to a decrease in cancer diagnosis wait times from 22 to 7 days while improving the quality of pathology diagnostic reporting that is used to guide subsequent clinical care.
  • Sheryl McDiarmid, Greg Doiron, and Paula Doering for their work towards implementing a corporate vascular access program at The Ottawa Hospital. In order to start chemotherapy treatment, patients often need to have a device placed inside a major blood vessel so that it can be easily and repeatedly accessed over the days and weeks of treatment. Adequate vascular access is increasingly important as more regimens are administered through the chemotherapy home infusion pump program. In order to improve the quality of care delivered, The Ottawa Hospital developed a corporate vascular access program that ensures patients are informed and supported, and get the right device, inserted in a timely way so treatment is not delayed.
  • Staff from the Hamilton Health Sciences Centre and Juravinski Centre for three initiatives: the Tertiary Acute Palliative Care Unit (TAPCU), the Oncology Response Coordinator, and the Oncology Triage Tool. These three initiatives show how providing better patient management and improved end of life care reduces the need for patients to use the emergency department for support. This improves both the quality of care and treats patients who are very sick in a more sensitive and caring way.

This year’s Innovation Awards honoured the following recipients:

  • The University Health Network for Telepathology, a system that allows pathologists to securely review pathology slides from remote locations, thereby significantly reducing time to cancer diagnosis and increasing access for patients who may otherwise need to travel for appointments.
  • The St. Mary’s General Hospital implemented a broad initiative to improve access and safety of thoracic (chest) surgery. By combining the creation of a “one stop” diagnosis assessment unit with the training of a nurse practitioner as a registered nurse first assist (RNFA), the hospital was able to maximize the use of nursing clinical skills to improve quality and access to surgery. The RNFA role demonstrates how hospitals can deploy health human resources more effectively. This increases hospital and system efficiency while improving care for patients.
  • Hôpital régional de Sudbury Regional Hospital - Regional Cancer Program for meeting the challenge of delivering oncology patient centered care in a large geographical area-using the successes of telemedicine in rural health. Telemedicine allows medical information to be exchanged from one site to another electronically for the health and education of the patient or healthcare provider and for the purpose of improving patient care. This innovation has possibly improved the care for the greatest number of cancer patients in Ontario.

“These innovations improve patient care in their regions, and these initiatives are often reviewed and adopted throughout Ontario and in some cases, Canada,” said Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. “In Ontario we have hardworking and imaginative people like these winners and many others who come to work everyday, helping to make sure that patients receive the best quality care every step of the way.”

The Quality and Innovation Awards were presented in Toronto on December 2. Innovation Awards reward creative health leaders who improve cancer care performance in Ontario. Quality Awards aim to recognize, encourage and reward the development of quality improvements and projects designed to improve the performance of the cancer system in Ontario.

The awards are sponsored by the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario in partnership with Cancer Care Ontario and the Canadian Cancer Society – Ontario Division.

The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario is an advisory group established in 2002 to guide Cancer Care Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in their efforts to improve the quality of cancer care in the province. The Council also monitors and publicly reports on the performance of the cancer system.

Cancer Care Ontario is the provincial agency responsible for continually improving cancer services. As the government’s cancer advisor, Cancer Care Ontario works to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer, and make sure that patients receive better care every step of the way.

A call for nominations for the 2010 Quality and Innovations Awards will be announced early fall, 2010. For more information visit .