Congratulations to the 2014 Pursuing Excellence Award Winners

See who won, and why their work is award-winning. 

Award Categories:

1. ‘Four Betters’ Awards:

Awards were provided to individuals, organizations and teams who have shown excellence in work relating to the health care system’s four aims. As described in the Ministry of Health’s Plan for 2013-2014, these four aims are also known as the ‘Four Betters’.  These aims also represent the categories of awards that were presented.

Better Health Award Winners

  • Embracing Life Committee

    Embracing Life: Northern Saskatchewan Working Together

    awards_A0A7804 The Embracing Life Committee was formed to bring together communities, service providers and other stakeholders to address suicide in northern communities. The Committee brought together communities and service providers to identify community needs, gaps in service, and areas for improvement. They established a Research and Analysis Task Team to gather best practice research and a north-wide network was established to address suicide along the continuum of health promotion, suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. As a result of these efforts, individuals and communities have better knowledge of the services available to them, are now receiving relevant information and updates and have the opportunity to provide direct input on their needs and the needs of their communities. Those involved in the Embracing Life initiative will continue to work to ensure that northern communities meet the needs of individuals and communities who have been affected by suicide.
  • Population and Public Health Services Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region

    Successful Case Management and Contact Follow Up in the Control of a Measles Outbreak in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region

    awards_A0A7808 Strong communication skills, teamwork, daily management and dedication to providing exceptional patient- centered care resulted in the successful control of a measles outbreak in January 2014 in Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR). The goal of this team was to curtail the spread of the measles virus in the population – RQHR and beyond – in order to keep morbidity and mortality as close to zero as possible. Through diligent processes of identifying cases, managing contacts, and providing intervention when applicable harm was minimized to the population limiting the outbreak to 10 laboratory confirmed cases that were managed by their primary health care providers avoiding complications including hospitalization and even death. In addition, collaboration between Population and Public Health Services, Employee Health, various laboratories, Infection Prevention and Control and other stakeholders (patients, regions, provincial, federal) in the health care system ensured standard processes were followed and that each contact was afforded the same opportunities for prevention of disease or minimizing the symptom impact to themselves and the population around them.

Better Teams Award Winners

  • Mental Health, Sunrise Health Region

    Success is Measured through Perseverance and Sheer Determination

    Mental Health, Sunrise Crisis and intake services in Mental Health & Addiction Services in Sunrise Health Region were being compromised by a lengthy wait list. The Crisis Assessment Team set out to make improvements that would result in a service with no wait list that meets provincial triage and response time targets, and to provide service to more clients in a more timely way that meets the client’s needs – whether it was at the outpatient mental health clinic, the hospital, rural clinics or the client’s own home. With a targeted strategy to eliminate the outstanding waitlist, the team was able to not only accomplish this in less than 2 months, but was also able to triage clients and offer appointments within the targeted time frames. More importantly, individuals, families, and other agencies have expressed satisfaction about being seen quickly and the improved response time to service. The emergency room physicians are pleased with the improved working relationship they have with staff in Mental Health Services. And, the Crisis Assessment Team members feel increasingly competent in their ability to improve the services they provide.
  • University of Saskatchewan Health Sciences and LutherCare Communities

    Teamwork: Students and Seniors Partner in the Longitudinal Elderly Person Shadowing (LEPS) Project

    U of S The LEPS project provides an opportunity for health professions students to learn with, from, and about their senior partners through a series of social events and structured small group visits with the hope that more students choose to work with the elderly when they graduate. More than 400 health care students have participated in in this experiential learning program in the last seven years. The project evaluation indicated that 97% of students felt they learned more about seniors’ health and well-being as a result of participating in the LEPS Project than they would have if they were taking a more traditional curriculum model. The program helps ensure that future health care providers have a positive attitude towards the elderly, and enhanced skills for communicating and interacting with the elderly, and for working in interprofessional teams.

Better Value Award Winners

  • Sunrise Health Region Department of Pharmacy Services

    Lean Improvements via Implementation of a Regional Pharmacy Kanban Inventory System

     Pharmacy The Department of Pharmacy Services improvement team worked to reduce inventory levels in all care area medication storage areas while maintaining an adequate supply of medication-on-hand to meet patient needs within the Yorkton Regional Health Centre (including critical care, surgery, medicine, pediatrics, the emergency and pharmacy department, inpatient psychiatry, and in St. Anthony’s hospital). They compared inventory levels over the previous two years, gathered medication order histories, and reviewed the variance from month to month. The team applied 5S and Kanban methods to all medication rooms in the health centre and affiliate hospital; this included the regional pharmacy’s medication storage. They have achieved projected annual savings of $76,000 in inventory “ordered” and stocked by care units as well as an 84% reduction in expired inventory ($1200 vs $7400 per quarter) in an affiliate facility. Being good stewards of public funds in the management of pharmacy services benefits all of us.
  • Kelvington Integrated Health Facility 3P Team

    Kelvington Integrated Health Facility Transformation Design

    Kelvington The goal of this team was to design a building in Kelvington that would best support patient-centered interdisciplinary care that is truly collaborative and team focussed. Further, this building needs to support integration across the care continuum including primary care, lab/x-ray, emergency department, acute care and long-term care. Without renewal, the existing facilities would not last for the next generation. Many ideas were implemented including offstage work areas, Kanban carts, “right sized” clinic rooms, multipurpose clinic rooms, and acute care beds. These changes were realized with the 3P team as they redesigned processes, improved flow and eliminated waste. The construction cost reduction of 2.6 million dollars has been reallocated to renovations and renewal of the existing long-term care buildings. 5.4 million steps will be saved per year for RN’s at the facility and 740 hours per year will be saved in unnecessary travel. The result of this work is a viable project plan that will renew the care infrastructure in Kelvington for the next generation.

Better Care Award Winners

  • Department of Adult Critical Care Patient and Family Advisory Council

    The Critical Care Patient & Family Advisory Council: Working Together to Improve the Care Experience for Patients and Families in the ICU

    Critical Care The Critical Care Patient and Family Advisory Council in Saskatoon Health Region is made up of patient and family advisors, front line staff including nurses, clinical nurse educators, respiratory therapists, social workers, and managers. The advisory council works with staff and previous patients and their families to understand their needs. The council reviews surveys, informal interviews, and reported issues or concerns to identify and understand the problems. They also conduct Gemba walks to hear care experiences from current patients, families and staff. The council has been instrumental in implementing bedside rounding in the ICU, co-designing a family space for patients and their families, creating a patient and family guide to the ICU including a Top 10 list of things to be aware of when coming to the ICU for the first time, and created a Smart Phone App for patients and families with directions to the unit, parking, safety, visiting (open access), decision making, and suggestions on taking care of yourself, and information about the medical team and supports available. This work would not have happened without working in partnership with patients and families.
  • The Departments of Critical Care Medicine and Public Health

    Routine HIV Testing in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region

    Routine HIV Testing Saskatchewan’s HIV rate has been over twice that of the Canadian national average since 2008. Early diagnosis can ensure timely treatment and prevent transmission. An improvement team conducted a pilot project that offered testing for HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B in one ICU environment in RQHR. They developed a pre-printed order form used to routinely approach all ICU patients with an offer for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV testing. They raised awareness of the project amongst allied health team members with meetings and emails, as well as amongst our patient population with posters detailing the benefits of routine testing. Over an initial 25 week period, 194 patients were eligible to be offered testing, and 36% of those patients were offered testing for HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. This resulted in identifying several patients as HIV positive early in their disease course, thereby allowing for timely treatment, and also prevention of transmission. This project has helped bring the importance of HIV testing to the forefront in our ICU environment, and helped create awareness amongst staff and patients. The project’s success is owed to collaboration amongst all members of the allied health team as well as patients and their families, together striving to pursue the optimization of health care in Saskatchewan.

Improvement Champion Award Winners

  • Lisa Clatney
    Lisa C Lisa Clatney works to advance patient- and family- centred care throughout the Saskatoon Health Region. She brings passion, vision, and a strong commitment to ensuring the patient and family voice is heard. She has helped the patient experience program grow and flourish. She has also created a program that pairs patients and families with first year medical students and pharmacy students. Lisa created a patient experience survey for getting data in real time for understanding the patient experience, and she has helped create many new advisory councils in addition to maintaining and growing current advisory councils. Lisa publishes a newsletter to help keep in touch with advisors and share what other councils are doing. Lisa is never too busy to respond to requests from colleagues and advisors, and is truly dedicated to working to advance patient-and family- centered care.
  • Marie Mihalicz
    Marie Through her role as Student Services Consultant with the Northern Lights School Division, Marie has dedicated countless hours to improving the lives of youth in northern Saskatchewan, with a particular focus on youth leadership and emotional well-being. After finding herself surrounded by youth in her home community, many of whom were reading texts from a boy who died by suicide just a few hours earlier, Marie experienced first-hand that youth were the ones helping other youth at risk of suicide. Marie sought to increase the abilities of young people to respond to and support their friends in times of need by offering Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Marie took action to build skills in youth, create supports in their communities, and ultimately, reduce the impact of suicide on northern communities. Marie is a leader in improving care for young people in Saskatchewan by providing skills and training in a manner that is applicable to their age group while incorporating traditional cultural components and additional healing components. Marie has greatly influenced the amount of support and intervention available for youth in crisis in northern Saskatchewan.

Patient/Family Champion Award Winners

  • Heather Thiessen
    Heather Heather is an ambassador for patients and families. She lives this every day through her work with the Saskatoon Health Region and for the province of Saskatchewan. Heather has been involved with the Client and Family Critical Care Advisory Committee and Mistake Proofing projects aimed at improving handover at patient transfers. Heather is also an active member of the Rehab, Emergency Department, and Neurosciences Patient and Family Advisory Councils. As part of this work she helped develop and implement patient experience surveying on unit 6300, which involves going on to the unit on an almost weekly basis to talk to patients and families about their experiences while in hospital. She has also been a part of the Steering Committee and an active participant in the 3P event to develop the provincial prototype for the Safety Alert System. Heather was asked to co-chair the Surgical Initiative Transition Committee, a new role for her but she welcomed the opportunity to further develop her skills. She has also been actively involved in the Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Steering Committee. Heather has been a participant with the Patient & Family Care Experience Program, a program in which patient and family advisors mentor and coach 1st and 2nd year medical and pharmacy students on the principles of patient and family-centred care. This past fall she attended an international symposium on patient safety with Maura Davies where they spoke about SHR’s journey and the role of the patient and family voice in moving us forward. She was also a speaker at this year’s SUN conference, spoke at a meeting with Cancer Care Ontario, and helped design and deliver the Quality Summit as the Patient Ambassador. Most recently, Heather has joined the Client- and Family- Centred Care regional steering committee. Her role on this committee will be to, among other things, integrate the principles of client- and family- centred care with SHR’s strategic directions and to identify gaps or concerns if this integration is not occurring. She has had a blog with the Health Quality Council since 2012 and continues to share her journey and insights with people across the world through this forum. Heather truly embraces the notion of ‘partnership’ that we are striving towards with client- and family-centred care and she demonstrates this every day through her interactions with people across the health system.
  • Hank Lashta
    Hank Hank has played a crucial role in the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency’s (SCA) continuous improvement work including 3P (production, preparation process) work at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre (SCC). An eager participant on the project from the very beginning, Hank has played a significant role in the most critical component of the 3P work which is collecting data and providing input into designs, articulating patient needs and looking at the overall spectrum of services offered. Hank has also been crucial in connecting his role on the 3P team with his role on the Saskatchewan Stem Cell Transplant Advocacy Group (STEM) ensuring that the vision of the improvement work is communicated to the STEM group and that their feedback is communicated back to the improvement team. Hank has shown courage by challenging the entire 3P team on assumptions or collective decisions when he feels the process needs to be grounded in the patient experience. Not only has Hank provided a constant patient voice, but he has done so while receiving treatment at the SCC, many times arriving at 3P events immediately following his own treatment. Hank has provided a clear, consistent, and current perspective of the patient experience and the success of the SCC 3P project has depended on it. Hank is still providing a valuable patient voice in the continuing 3P journey.