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2019 Award Recipients – Quality & Innovation Awards

Learn about the work of the teams who received 2019 Quality and Innovation Awards. The teams were recognized for their significant contributions to quality and innovation in the delivery of cancer care in Ontario.


R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre, Lakeridge Health: BETTER (Building Emotional Therapies Through Education and Relationships) Clinic

R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre (DRCC) is improving quality of care for people with cancer through the Building Emotional Therapies Through Education and Relationships (BETTER) clinic.

The BETTER clinic is a bi-weekly outpatient clinic, within an ambulatory clinic, that provides people with cancer timely access to psychiatric services. In addition to providing high-quality care to address people’s psychosocial needs, the BETTER clinic also supports physician and nursing teams by providing appropriate resources for people experiencing anxiety and depression.

Before the BETTER clinic, the average wait time for people to receive psychiatry services at DRCC was about 6 to 9 months. Since the clinic opened, wait times were initially reduced to 4 weeks from assessment to consultation, and are now just 2 weeks from referral to consultation.

Team Members: Jane Dimitriou-Currie, Connie Bell, Christine Boissoin, Julie Caswell, Debbie Devitt, Sheri Horsburgh, Ilana Kopolovic, Yousef Kwamie, Darrilyn Lessels, Sarde Matti, Anthony Naassan

Video to showcase R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre’s initiative

Honourable Mention

Stronach Regional Cancer Centre, Southlake Regional Health Centre: Partnering to Improve the Patient Experience: After Hours Symptom Management Telephone Support

Stronach Regional Cancer Centre (SRCC) is improving quality of care for people with cancer by helping them better manage their cancer treatment symptoms.

SRCC partnered with Bayshore Healthcare to pilot an after-hours symptom management telephone support service. The service allows people receiving chemotherapy treatment to receive clinical guidance and support from specialized oncology nurses over the phone. This support means people with cancer can manage their own care from the comfort of their homes.

People being treated at SRCC receive educational materials explaining the program, its hours of operation and how the program can help them. They are also provided with customized personal health information, including current treatment regimen, medications and details of other illnesses, to share with the nurse over the phone.

Since inception, the pilot has expanded to 5 hospitals in the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), and then to 8 other provincial hospitals. All sites have adopted SRCC’s process, tools, educational materials and performance metrics. The program has also expanded beyond chemotherapy to include clinical guidance and support for people receiving radiation therapy.

Team Members: Catherine Cotton, Dr. Peter Anglin, Sherry Hnatyshyn-Webster, Karyn Perry

Video to showcase Stronach Regional Cancer Centre’s initiative


University Health Network: Implementing Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) at UHN

UHN was one of the first healthcare organizations in Canada to establish an organized MAiD program after Bill C-14 was passed, decriminalizing medical assistance in dying.

While developing the program, UHN conducted extensive consultations with healthcare professionals across the organization, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, patient educators and translators.

Since being implemented, the MAiD process at UHN has become known as one of the most rigorous in Canada. This is because it requires 3 independent medical opinions to determine a person’s eligibility, separate from the opinion of the primary care provider.

The MAiD program at UHN was created with the idea that people, with their clinical teams, are partners in their care. While the MAiD legislation describes the role of physicians, nurses and pharmacists, UHN has brought a multidisciplinary team of health professions into the process to ensure the highest quality of care.

Team Members: SarahRose Black, Celina Dara, R.J. Edralin, Paul Ellis, Leanza Francesco, Ann Heesters, Benjamin Kaasa, Patricia Murphy-Kane, Jessica Lam, Madeline Li, Karen Martin, Gerald O’Leary, Gary Rodin, Ruby Shanker, Derek Tsang and the UHN MAiD Teams

Video to showcase University Health Network’s initiative

Honourable Mention

South East Regional Cancer Program: Novel Delivery of Systemic Therapy to Enable Oncology Treatment Closer to Home

The South East Regional Cancer Program (SERCP) is innovating the way chemotherapy is delivered to people with cancer at their satellite hospital sites.

When SERCP opened a new satellite oncology clinic, the regional systemic treatment program recognized challenges in compounding chemotherapy (i.e., preparing the treatments specific to each person’s prescription). They did not have the means to support safe and high-quality delivery of chemotherapy locally. The pharmacy team at the regional cancer centre collaborated with senior leadership and pharmacy teams at community hospitals to create chemotherapy that could be easily transported without compromising its integrity and effectiveness.

This new process allows more people with cancer to receive treatment locally without having to travel to the regional cancer centre in Kingston. Increasing access locally saves travel time and money for treatment, ultimately improving the patient experience.

Team Members: Kardi Kennedy, Dr. Tara Baetz, Vero Briggs, Leslie Young

Video to showcase South East Regional Cancer Program’s initiative