2014 CAE Recipient Profile - Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH)

Toronto East General Hospital’s Journey to a Sustainable Culture of Excellence

Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) is a full-service community teaching hospital that provides a full range of primary and secondary acute care services, complex continuing care and select tertiary services, including a Progressive Weaning Centre of Excellence and a Level 1 Thoracic Program. Since 1929 TEGH has delivered a full range of generalist hospital services to the community of east Toronto, a diverse and multi-cultural community with the lowest incomes of any population served by a Toronto hospital. Recognizing the importance of offering equitable service to all, the hospital strives to ensure care is sensitive to the population served. As an example, TEGH was one of the first hospitals to use the Language Line Interpretation Service, which is now an accepted standard of care.

TEGH services include inpatient beds, a busy Emergency Department, Family Birthing Centre, Complex Continuing Care & Rehabilitation, high volume outpatient, day medicine and day surgery visits and community-based mental health and withdrawal management facilities. As a large organization, over 2,400 staff, 400 physicians and 500 volunteers are employed, and at any time many students and residents are on site completing educational and clinical placements.

A recent focus of the organization has been planning and preparing for a major redevelopment of the facility which is scheduled to begin in 2016 and will result in a modern state-of-the art facility. This will provide an excellent foundation to care for the east Toronto community for many years to come.

Since embarking on this journey over a decade ago and becoming the first hospital in Canada to receive Excellence Canada’s Order of Excellence in 2010, the journey to build and sustain a culture of excellence focusing on quality, wellness and continuous improvement has progressed, with continued improvement in key performance indicators.

In 2012, TEGH was honoured to achieve exemplary standing, the highest level granted by Accreditation Canada, and additionally received recognition for six leading practices. In February 2014 an additional leading practice was awarded for ‘Mental Wellness in the Workplace’.

In 2013, TEGH became one of only three organizations in Canada, and the only hospital, to receive Excellence Canada’s Silver Award of Excellence for Mental Health at Work®, confirming its leadership in mental wellness in the workplace. Last year the hospital was also one of seven in Ontario to be recognized with a Platinum level Quality Healthcare Workplace Award from the Ontario Hospital Association and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This focus on wellness and healthy workplace led, in 2013, to the highest staff satisfaction results the organization has ever achieved, which notably were also well above the Ontario hospital average.

Last year also saw the launch of a new Strategic Plan and new vision, “Setting a New Standard in Quality and Value”, reflecting the organizational focus on excellence and quality improvement and the success that has been demonstrated in delivering high quality, safe and accessible care at low cost to the health care system. It also establishes the hospital’s intent to continue to set new standards as a community teaching hospital.

All other plans at TEGH align with the Strategic Plan to ensure that decisions are made from a systems perspective and overarching quality framework and that patients remain at the core; taken into consideration with every decision. These priorities are well disseminated and reinforced across the organization at operational and unit huddles where patient stories and videos ensure the voice of the patient is heard and remains at the centre of all decision making. 

This strong culture of continuous improvement is fostered and supported by senior leadership who created the TEGH Improvement System three years ago to further drive change and embed a culture of innovation and continuous improvement throughout the hospital. Through cross-appointments, encouraging employees to explore ideas and be innovative, and developing venues like the annual Research and Innovation Fair, the team has facilitated many process improvements and helped to further embed the established culture of excellence and improvement.

TEGH has not achieved its successes alone, but has been supported in this journey through engaging with its stakeholders:  staff, patients, families, community, suppliers and partner organizations.

The organization is committed to continuing on this path and to set challenging goals; to encourage innovation and quality improvement and to exceed or match best practice in the industry.