It’s not uncommon for physicians to have multiple specialties when it comes to their medical practice, but it still surprised Dr. Howard Ovens, Chief Medical Strategy Officer and emergency medicine physician, that so many of Sinai Health’s physicians had formal training in a different discipline – Quality Improvement. “When we realized this, we saw a great opportunity to maximize these skills to advance Sinai Health’s quality agenda, while supporting the great work our physicians are doing across our hospitals,” said Howard.

It was through this discovery that the Physician Quality Improvement Committee was born. “We wanted to encourage a community of practice to share and extend great ideas for improvement, and the enthusiasm of our staff and quality of these projects illustrates how successful this has been, said Dr. Maureen Shandling, Executive Vice President of Academic and Medical Affairs

Co-chaired by Howard and Dr. Chaim Bell, Physician-in-Chief, the committee is similar to an interest group, and meetings are an opportunity for members to gain the support of their peers on their projects, find mentors and collaborators, and discuss common ways Sinai Health can help to facilitate their work. Not only that, but the aim is to align these projects with our Quality Improvement Plan, wherever possible.

In order to advance the quality improvement projects taken on by physicians, the committee created a competition. Each project selected by the committee receives financial support from the hospital, matched by their department chief, which can be used to fund their quality improvement project. So far, three projects have been awarded:

  • Jodi Shapiro and Matthew Sermer are heading up a year-long, multi-centre initiative aimed at decreasing caesarean section rates by supporting trial of labour after caesarean section (TOLAC). This project will provide much needed accurate data on our TOLAC rates, and provide additional support and education to obstetrical care providers and information to patients to empower them to make informed choices about mode of delivery.
  • Erin Kennedy, David Flamer, Naveed Siddiqui, Alexandra Easson, and Mantaj Brar, with assistance from Andrew Wyllie, Shauna Health and Andrew Munn as patient advisors are looking for ways to educate patients about opioids. This will entail creating a module that can be integrated into the current Home to Stay Program to assist patients in managing their opioid use as well as safe disposal following colorectal surgery, including a pilot test to evaluate the uptake and use of this module.
  • Jesse Wolfstadt and pharmacist Jennifer Korman are leading a project that optimizes the selection, dosage, and timing of appropriate antibiotic prophylaxis prior to elective total joint replacements. The aim of this project aligns with our quality aims of safe and effective patient care and supports the institutional directive to ensure best practices with antibiotic prophylaxis.

The winning projects are just some of the examples of the great interdepartmental quality improvement work happening across Sinai Health, “At the core is the drive to improve care for our patients,” said Chaim. “When we promote this drive, we build an environment that emphasizes creating new knowledge and embracing learning.”

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