Healthier Population

Partnering for the right match

In November, The Ottawa Hospital partnered with Canadian Blood Services to become the first collection site in Canada for the national public cord blood bank. The OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank fills a critical need in the ability to find a match for patients who require lifesaving stem-cell transplants for conditions such as leukemia and lymphoma. By increasing the amount of stored cord blood and making it accessible through a registry, Canadians stand a better chance of finding the right match when they desperately need it. "By working together, we can provide increased hope for patients awaiting stem cell transplants in our community and across the country,” says Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital. We have started recruiting volunteer mothers and collecting their baby’s donated cord blood to test processes and systems prior to the official launch of the bank in April 2013.

Making street calls: A unique program to improve care

Last summer, Dr. Peter Boyles became Canada's first psychiatrist to regularly ride with officers of a Canadian police service's mental health unit, going outside The Ottawa Hospital Emergency Department where he typically works. The pilot project is assessing if having a doctor on location will improve the handling of mental health issues and streamline how these people get the help they need. Not only does Dr. Boyles and his team provide care more quickly, which is good for the patients and their families, but police officers can proceed to other calls and avoid trips to the emergency department, where they have to wait with the person until they are seen.

The Ottawa Hospital celebrates the 100th bone marrow delivery with Canadian Blood Services and the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society.

Follow-up calls at home help people with their medications

Adverse drug reactions occur in an estimated 25 percent of patients who are not in hospital or care facilities. As well, 25 percent of people with new prescriptions will not take their medication as directed. A study by Dr. Alan Forster, Scientific Director of Clinical Quality and Performance Management at The Ottawa Hospital and senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, has shown the potential benefits of using an automated phone system to contact these patients about their prescriptions. The system identified 46 percent of adverse drug events and influenced how 40 percent of those were managed. Dr. Forster recently received a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to further explore the effectiveness of using such a system to help people with their medications.

25% of people with new prescriptions will not take their medication as directed. An automated call system helped resolve adverse reactions.

Improving access for west-end dialysis patients

The Ottawa Hospital Nephrology Program is now operating a new 15-station dialysis unit out of the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH), increasing ease of access for end-stage kidney patients who rely on the machines to survive. This partnership with the QCH and the Ontario Renal Network provides care and treatment closer to patients' homes, while also providing future capacity for our growing population and its changing demographics.

We’re proud to say that this partnership will help us provide better access to the care our dialysis patients need..

–Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO, The Ottawa Hospital

Extending trauma expertise outside of the city

This spring, The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) became the second Ontario trauma centre to share its knowledge with a non-urban hospital that often transfers its trauma patients. Nearly half of the people treated by our Trauma Unit come from smaller hospitals outside the city, where they see injuries from hunting, logging, snowmobiling, high-speed collisions or off-roading ATVs. In March, TOH staff trained 26 nurses, doctors and paramedics at the Renfrew Victoria Hospital on matters such as stabilizing trauma patients and identifying the need for early transfer to TOH. In the coming years, the course will be delivered to the 13 hospitals serving the region’s rural areas.

of the people treated by our Trauma Unit come from smaller hospitals outside the city.

Combining treatments to improve care for binge eating disorder

The Ottawa Hospital is studying the first combined treatment of binge eating disorder (BED): self-help therapy followed by specialized therapy options. On their own, the approaches have moderate success rates in treating BED, which affects nearly four percent of adult Canadians. People with the disorder experience a loss of control that results in overeating at least once a week. They often become obese and struggle with depression. Their health-care costs are also 36 percent higher than the national average. By using this two-phase approach, Dr. Giorgio Tasca hopes to increase treatment success rates, thereby reducing the personal, health and economic burden for patients. The study also will determine whether access to treatment and overall cost-effectiveness are increased.

New app puts vaccination records at your fingertips

Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and a physician at The Ottawa Hospital, developed the first iPhone app that gives Ontario residents an easy way to track their immunizations and more. “While the paper yellow card remains the official vaccination record, we hope this app will make it easier for parents to keep track of their children’s vaccinations,” said Dr. Wilson. ImmunizeON is not only an easy tool for parents to track and update their families’ immunization records, but it also sends out reminders, alerts and provides credible information of vaccines and what to do in case of an adverse reaction.

ImmunizeON paves the way for a Canada-wide version in the coming months, which will offer vaccination schedules and alerts from across the country. The app is now available on iTunes by searching for ImmunizeON.

App icon for ImmunizeON

While the paper yellow card remains the official vaccination record, we hope this app will make it easier for parents to keep track of their children’s vaccinations.

–Dr. Kumanan Wilson

Better Patient Experience

Helping alleviate the stress of surgery

In October, The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) launched "my Surgery," a new section on our website that helps patients prepare for their surgical visit to the hospital. The goal of the site is to give our patients the tools and information they need to reduce the stress often experienced in the lead-up to surgery. It allows patients to access their own “Pre-op Health History Patient Questionnaire tool” from home, so they can be better prepared for their initial visit with their surgeon. Also included in the section is a video providing a virtual tour of the surgical path and educational materials for patients, such as pre-operative protocols, pain management options, smoking cessation guides and early discharge planning tips.

Watch the video

Community care program wins cancer quality award

Providing more treatment options to advanced cancer patients in their homes earned The Ottawa Hospital the 2012 Quality Award from the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario. Working with the Community Care Access Centre, we developed a program that cares for patients with fluid build-up around their lungs or in their abdomen – without having to admit them to hospital. Patients were happy to stay in the familiar comfort of their homes while getting the quality care they needed. In treating about 200 patients with these conditions a year, this program saves the hospital 3,200 bed days and saves the health system nearly $1 million.

$1 Million
can be saved when we treat 200 cancer patients at home.

Lynn Kachiuk wins first award for cancer nurses

Advanced Practice Nurse Lynn Kachiuk was honoured by the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology as Canada's first-ever recipient of the Oncology Nurse of the Year award. At The Ottawa Hospital, Lynn leads our cancer program's Supportive and Palliative Care team, where she has implemented a collaborative approach to care in which all providers practice to the highest level of their training. She firmly believes that the best care is achieved by teamwork, and the patient's family is a key part of that team. We do, too.

Quick response team aims to SWAT out superbugs

Hospitals across the country are struggling to deal with deadly and highly contagious infections, such as C. difficile. To help manage these antibiotic-resistant bacteria, The Ottawa Hospital has created a SWAT team that responds quickly to cases of C. difficile acquired in the hospital, ensuring that rigorous hygiene protocols are met and the potential for spread is quickly minimized. In January, we deployed the first team at the General Campus. This unique approach is, to our knowledge, the first in the country.

Handheld ultrasound brings heart images to the bedside

Cardiologists at The Ottawa Hospital now have pocket-sized ultrasound units to help them quickly assess how well a person's heart is functioning. This means they can do most evaluations right at the bedside, which is an amazing asset in emergency situations. It allows physicians to quickly give their patients answers and develop their plan of care. The first units were introduced in the summer of 2012.

Ordering medical images? We made an app for that!

Last summer, clinicians at The Ottawa Hospital started ordering medical imaging right from their iPads, speeding up the process and improving the care we offer our patients. They also have access to the results while making their rounds and can review these with the patient and their families, at the bedside. This was the first step in a process that has been extended to allow many of our clinics to do the same with laboratory tests.

medical images were ordered in 2012-2013.

Accolades for our iPad mobility

"The hospital’s mobility strategy has transformed the way we do our work," says Dr. Glen Geiger, Chief Medical Information Officer at The Ottawa Hospital. “Our clinicians are finding it to be more efficient to review results and orders at the bedside and our patients are more engaged.” Our innovation has also earned the following honours from others:

The most important benefit, of course, is patient safety [...] allowing physicians to spend more time at the patients’ bedsides, reviewing the cases and making decisions, rather than in the nursing stations or conference rooms where fixed PC workstations are located. This can literally save lives.

–Mobile Enterprise Magazine
Dr. Antoine Hakim

Neurologist at The Ottawa Hospital named to Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Dr. Antoine Hakim was named to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for his groundbreaking work in establishing the Canadian Stroke Network (CSN). The Hall of Fame said he has “pushed the boundaries of discovery and innovation beyond the realm of possibility to make the world a better place.” Dr. Hakim is the CSN’s Scientific Director and CEO, senior neurologist at The Ottawa Hospital, Head of the Neuroscience Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and a University of Ottawa neurology professor, among many other titles. His greatest pleasure comes from hearing stroke specialists around the world refer to Canada as the leader in stroke care. He predicted that the CSN’s benefit would be less-expensive health care for stroke patients; he and many partners made that a reality, saving the system billions of dollars.

Value for Money

Scheduling changes reduce urgent surgical wait times

In January 2013, The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) changed the way we manage surgery schedules in order to ensure that urgent cases make it more quickly into the operating room. Now these cases are being seen faster than ever, with some of the most common urgent surgeries being done in half the target time set by the province. By distributing elective surgeries throughout the week and by designating more operating-room time for urgent surgeries, we have improved patient care through reduced wait times and fewer cancelled surgeries.

New centre for blood diseases houses world-class team

The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) Ottawa Blood Disease Centre officially opened its doors in May 2012 – a huge milestone for the more than 30,000 Ottawa-area patients under the care of hematologists. Housed in the Centre for Practice-Changing Research, this centre brings more than 100 of “the best and brightest health-care professionals and researchers together under one roof,” says Dr. Marc Rodger, Chief of the Division of Hematology at TOH and senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI). Previously, the blood disease team was spread across nine locations, in six buildings, on two campuses.

Watch the video

In an associated move, this February we consolidated our thrombosis unit at the General Campus, just down the hall from the Ottawa Blood Disease Centre. Under the direction of Dr. Phil Wells, Medical Director of Medicine at TOH and senior scientist at OHRI, our thrombosis team is recognized by experts in the field as one of the top three clinics in the world, for its strong research program and excellent clinical staff.

Even our warehouse is helping improve patient care

Keeping our hospital well supplied is an essential service, although generally unnoticed. In completing our new 35,000 square foot, state-of-the-art warehouse, The Ottawa Hospital has reduced waste by implementing a just-in-time supply chain. As a result, we no longer need to stockpile or overbuy, which also eliminates the possibility of carrying expired products. Another important benefit is that clinical staff saves time ordering supplies for their unit – leaving more time to care for their patients. For nurses, it's estimated that the value of this time saved is more than $560,000 a year.

is the estimated value of the time saved by the new warehouse for nurses in a year.

Waste diverted, energy and water saved

2012-2013 was another successful year for green projects at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH). We continued to reduce energy and water consumption and divert more waste from the landfill through recycling programs.

Our partners took notice and rewarded us for our work. In November, the Ontario Hospital Association and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care presented TOH with the 2012 Green Health Care Award for Water Conservation and Protection; highlighting our work to reduce water consumption and impact on our water resources. Also, in May, TOH’s three campuses were recognized as Practice Greenhealth’s 2012 Partners for Change.

The hospital’s 2012 energy conservation projects saved nearly 850,000 kWh – the annual energy use of about 280 single-family homes!


We are fortunate to have thousands of people in our community who are dedicated to support The Ottawa Hospital (TOH). Whether through a personal donation, corporate gift or by participating in an event; individuals across this city are raising critical funds to help shape the future of health care in Eastern Ontario.

Below are a few of the highlights from the past year:

Shoppers Drug Mart Tree of Life campaign supports women’s health

Patients receiving treatment at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre (TOHCC), staff from The Ottawa Hospital Breast Health Centre and Shoppers Drug Mart representatives gathered in September to dedicate a tree in honour of the Hospital’s cancer patients, past, present and future. The dedication outside TOHCC marked Shoppers Drug Mart’s seventh Tree of Life campaign in support of women’s health at The Ottawa Hospital.

was raised by the 2012 campaign for the expansion of The Ottawa Hospital Breast Health Centre.

Ride the Rideau continues outstanding success

The rain may have cancelled the ride, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the more than 700 cyclists and fundraisers at Ride the Rideau in September. This incredibly enthusiastic group of individuals raised an incredible $1.74 million for cancer research, maintaining the event’s standing as Eastern Ontario’s most successful cancer fundraiser. Among the riders were 22 cancer survivors, including Steve West, CEO of Nordion, the event’s title sponsor. “Everyone has a reason to Ride the Rideau, and this year my reason became intensely personal. When I began supporting cancer research and care at The Ottawa Hospital, I never imagined I would become a patient,” said West, who publicly fought – and won – his own battle with cancer at The Ottawa Hospital.

Everyone has a reason to Ride the Rideau, and this year my reason became intensely personal. When I began supporting cancer research and care at The Ottawa Hospital, I never imagined I would become a patient...

–Steve West, CEO of Nordion

NAV CANADA honoured with philanthropy award

As an expression of gratitude for their outpouring of generosity, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation nominated NAV CANADA and its employees in recognition of their past and future support for cancer care and research. NAV CANADA was honoured with the Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist Award at the 2012 Philanthropy Awards presented by the Ottawa Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in November. John Crichton, President and CEO of NAV CANADA, accepted the award on behalf of the company’s employees, many of whom have been touched by The Ottawa Hospital and are inspired to continue to support health care in our community.