CEO Blog: When is Accreditation Not about Accreditation?


What do Accreditation, developing a Quality Improvement Plan and strategic planning have in common? The quick answer at Holland Bloorview is engagement. The longer answer lies in a cliché – that the journey is as important as the destination.

In each of these important pieces of work, I’ve been impressed by how much meaning is being made of what can sometimes be “rote” exercises. Instead I’ve been witness to a strength-based approach that has helped us focus on what our “always” events need to be. And in each instance, the crucial ingredient has been engagement – the depth of knowledge, wisdom, creativity, and thoughtfulness demonstrated by our team, partner organizations in the community, parents, youth, and children we serve.

As important as any individual measure is on a Quality Improvement Plan, equally important is what it represents in terms of a stated organizational aspiration to address something meaningful. Data that goes to meaning can be hard to measure. It is relatively easy to measure the number of days wait for a certain procedure or appointment. What is the story that such a measure tells? How often do hospitals measure something because we can rather than because that measure accurately represents the aspiration to make a meaningful change?

This year there is a shift on the Holland Bloorview Quality Improvement Plan from measuring a process around follow up phone calls after inpatients are discharged to measuring child and family readiness for discharge. This is critical strategically for Holland Bloorview and for the system as we collectively prioritize transitions along the continuum of care, care close to home even for our most medically complex children and youth, and local accountability (see the government’s Patients First strategy and the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network’s strategic plan). The measure will give our teams great insight into success and where we can make families even more ready for an important, highly anticipated, but also sometimes high-risk point in their rehabilitation journey.

Ultimately enabled by the leadership of our Board of Trustees, staff, children, youth, and caregivers hold the secret to understanding what quality and safety mean. That’s why animating our Quality Improvement Plan development with the knowledge of our Children and Youth Advisory Committees has been impactful. And it is why a trustee at a recent hospital event commented on the enthusiasm and engagement of our staff about Accreditation, a voluntary review process of our quality and safety practices by healthcare experts. Staff were truly interested in learning about the process and how they will each drive continuous improvement and excellence. I was a skeptic when told we were going to have two family leaders on each Accreditation committee for a two year period, but there was no shortage of interested family members and we’ve learned together through the process. Two of our family members were even recognized by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute for their leadership in advancing quality care through the Accreditation process.

To learn more about how we are thinking about strategy, Accreditation and Quality Improvement, check out our latest strategic plan blog post, Accreditation video and the overviews we have created for families and for children.

When is Accreditation not about Accreditation? When it is about engaging team, children, youth and families around charting a course toward the most healthy and meaningful futures for all children and youth.



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