Message from the Executive Liaison Committee
While the last year has been a challenging one for all in health care, for those in emergency services it’s been especially difficult, and in many ways an unprecedented time of true crisis. Emergency departments everywhere are struggling with staff shortages (especially nursing), low morale, epidemic burnout, and severe flow challenges. SREMI has helped to answer this challenge through its leadership and expertise. Keep that theme in mind as you read the rest of this report – how relevant so much of the work being done is to a system in crisis. Research and advocacy have run the gamut from early pregnancy complications and loss to social isolation and loneliness in the elderly, but we’d like to call out in some detail the outstanding work in the evaluation of public policy in Ontario. Too often public policy is not evidence-based or evaluated in an independent and rigorous manner and almost never reported publicly. This leaves citizens unable to judge return on investment, government unaccountable and other jurisdictions unable to learn from our experience.
Building on the success of the eCTAS evaluation (led by Bjug and Shelley) and the growing reputation of SREMI, Shelley was asked to lead an important evaluation of a series of pilot programs of “virtual urgent care” – an evaluation that has helped to properly place this trendy but expensive option in context as of secondary value at a time of limited human resources. Shelley, and SREMI, have also received a $750,000 government grant to conduct a time/motion study of factors impacting emergency physician productivity across multiple EDs, an eagerly anticipated project that will likely have significant impact on physician work life and ED wait times. The quality of work on these projects has been noticed and is leading to a cultural shift in Ontario’s Ministry of Health around policy evaluation whose long-term impact can’t be overstated!
Another highlight of the past year was Rohit’s terrific progress growing the presence of his research program within the ED at NYGH. With 10 projects currently underway (three of which are currently shared with the Sinai site) his work has been increasingly noticed. This year he was invited to present his program of research (highlighting the SREMI relationship) to the research sub-committee of the NYGH Board of directors. His presentation was well received and has led to him becoming the “face of emergency medicine” at the hospital in selected advertising campaigns. Work is currently underway to develop a new SREMI focus of interest for his work which reflects a specific population of interest to the community served by the hospital.
The synergy between creation of new knowledge, knowledge translation, and advocacy results in recognition, respect, trust and thus to leadership and is an impact multiplier. SREMI is fulfilling its original vision and mission in a spectacular way.
Sadly, this year also included the sudden, wholly unexpected and tragic loss of Paul Hannam, ED Director at North York and among many attributes, a partner who shared the SREMI vision. As we all grieve his loss, SREMI will also collaborate in multiple ways to uphold his values and honor his memory.
Howard Ovens MD, FCFP (EM) Kevin Katz MD, CM, MSc, FRCPC
Mount Sinai Hospital North York General Hospital