By Maria Judd
Over the past several years, the pandemic has highlighted and deepened pre-existing gaps and inequalities in healthcare for people across Canada. For those in the healthcare workforce, the pandemic has been unrelenting. Yet people and systems have responded to pandemic challenges with tremendous innovation by focusing on workforce wellness, appropriate virtual care and patient safety during COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care.
I had the opportunity to speak with people around the country as part of developing a new five-year strategy. Amid ongoing pandemic impacts and challenges, policy-makers, health system leaders, providers, patients and essential care partners were hopeful and looking for evidence that it was possible to shape a future where everyone in Canada has safe and high-quality healthcare. Together.
That’s why I’ve been exploring the concept of evidence-informed hope with colleagues (and recently wrote about it). It’s a helpful concept for healthcare improvement, specifically the large-scale rapid system change we all want and need.
What is evidence-informed hope?
Evidence-informed hope implies there are solid reasons to believe a desired change is possible. It helps build trust and inspire us to embrace innovation. It can guide new ways of organizing, funding and delivering healthcare that improve patient experience, provider well-being, health outcomes, value for money and health equity. It can give us energy and concrete ways to create real change – including change that will help us move forward through the pandemic. It also requires us to face hard facts and calls leaders to respond and act.
Evidence-informed hope comes in many forms at HEC. The work we do with partners helps us see that a better future is possible and the different pathways to getting there. Here are three examples of this work, that we invite you to join and act on with us.
Learn from the pandemic and build resilience together
Healthcare leaders and policymakers are working to renew health systems strained by the pandemic and better prepare for future health emergencies. That’s why we’re supporting them with our new Pandemic Recovery and Resilience Self-Assessment and Toolkit. We’ve consulted with healthcare leaders across the country and synthesized evidence-informed approaches in nine improvement areas covering some of the most urgent and important issues in healthcare right now.
Whether you work in a regional health authority, healthcare delivery system, or a provincial, territorial or federal health department, the simple self-assessments help you identify what’s working well now, where the gaps are and what to prioritize next.
Meanwhile, the toolkit features more than 125 innovative approaches for addressing issues like health human resources, health equity, care for older adults and more. As healthcare organizations work through the phases of the pandemic, they can expand the reach of successful innovations to build a system that is resilient, responsive, sustainable and cares for all people equitably.
Make virtual care safer for patients and providers
Virtual care can improve how we provide healthcare across Canada, often as a complement to in-person care. Virtual care’s explosion in response to the pandemic is evidence that large-scale, rapid change is possible. Providers and patients value it and want to continue using it appropriately.
Virtual care policy and practice guidance is rapidly being assembled to provide evidence-informed support to ensure this type of care is delivered safely, appropriately and equitably. Clinicians need the right tools and training for this. We partnered with Canada Health Infoway to address this need through the Virtual Care Together design collaborative. Together with 25 teams across the country, we developed the Clinician Change Virtual Care Toolkit PDF that features synthesized information and evidence from trusted sources.
Download the toolkit PDF, read the policy lab report PDF and keep checking the Virtual Care Together webpage for the upcoming learning series. Together we can improve safe and high-quality virtual care so more people can benefit.
Rapidly learn and improve care of older adults in retirement and long-term care settings
While the pandemic has taken its toll on many, there is little doubt those living in long-term care facilities bore a disproportionate share of the COVID-19 burden.
Through the LTC+ Acting on Pandemic Learning Together program, we’re bringing together long-term care and retirement homes to support the adoption of promising practices in pandemic preparedness and response. Over 300 teams, 1,500 homes and 160,000 residents across Canada have come together to rapidly learn and improve care in areas such as: infection prevention and control, experience of care, mental health (for staff and residents) and pandemic planning and preparedness.
Join us to act on evidence-informed hope
The pandemic’s effects will be felt in the health sector for some time. And yet, the pandemic has also shown us what we can achieve when we come together to rapidly share, implement and learn from promising policies and practices. Whether it’s care of older adults, care closer to home or pandemic recovery and resilience – the innovations and outcomes we’ve seen through our work with people across the country has given us evidence-informed hope it is possible to help shape a future where everyone in Canada has safe and high-quality healthcare.
Join us in shaping the future of quality and safety. Together. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on the information and opportunities that matter most to you.