A Year of Recovery and Opportunity: CEO Kathryn Nichol Shares VHA’s Priorities for 2022
2022 will be a year of both recovery and opportunity, and, as January closes, the team at VHA is fully focused on the year ahead.
As Wave 5 of COVID shows promising signs of waning, there is more and more hope that 2022 will see the disease begin to move from being pandemic (a worldwide spread of a new disease) to endemic (where widespread immunity restricts it to a particular geography or population). Responding to new variants and new evidence and working relentlessly to look after our people and build up our workforce will remain top priorities in the coming year. It will be more important than ever that all sectors of the health system work together to restore our collective health human resources to keep Ontarians out of hospital and safe in their homes and communities. The home care sector has a huge role to play in this and we are committed to our important role as thought leaders.
Despite COVID, opportunity abounds in 2022. Health system transformation efforts continue to steam ahead with the 50 Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) across the province that will support 92% of the population at maturity. VHA is dedicated to the goal of integrated neighbourhood-based care that forms the foundation of this new approach to care and we are a partner in 17 OHTs where we provide service. The end goal is to bring health and community care providers within a region together to function as one team so patients experience easier transitions with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan that is shared. Alongside OHTs there are also exciting opportunities to work with health system partners on integrated pathways of care, new models of care and transitional care for specific populations. This is an important area of growth for VHA as we build upon the great success we have had partnering with University Health Network, Michael Garron Hospital, Sick Kids and North York General Hospital. In 2022 VHA is embarking on a new initiative to build a business growth strategy for the organization that will honour our legacy of providing meaningful social impact and will ensure we remain in a position of strength for the future of integrated care. We will be welcoming a new Director of Business Opportunities to our team to lead this charge.
2022 will also see important initiatives to improve care and service at VHA. We are undertaking a significant effort to bring our front-line care providers together with our coordination and scheduling teams to create a single team approach for clients and families. Having these two critical functions – care and coordination – working together as one team for clients and families is essential not only in this time of staff shortages, but also to improve care and experience in the future. We will also be implementing exciting new technological advancements including a Remote Care Monitoring (RCM) program, expanding the use of our nursing virtual care program and delivering a Client Portal that enables clients and caregivers to access their relevant service information and communicate with their VHA care team. These initiatives are important strategies to improve access to home care services and increase the quality of care provided.
Research will continue to be a differentiator for VHA. Investing in partnerships to accelerate the home care research agenda, building home care scientists, and strengthening our data to support high quality inquiry is another key item on our agenda this year. We are looking forward to welcoming research learners at the front line and at all levels of academic pursuit including supporting high quality post-doctoral fellows. Participating in system level evaluation efforts is a key area of opportunity that we are excited to pursue.
Finally, 2022 will be a year where we put even more focus on protecting our people. Our Team is at the core of who we are and what we can achieve together. Maintaining our focus on safe and healthy work and work environments is key, and amplifying our Anti-Black Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) efforts will continue in 2022. We are looking forward to implementing our first EDI Action Plan and will conduct another EDI Survey later this year. We have solid baseline data from 2021 to closely examine our progress and identify areas needing ongoing action.
Needless to say we have a packed agenda for 2022! I invite you to join us on this journey as we strive to improve and evolve while always being committed to providing 24/7 high quality and safe care for our clients and families and to collaborating with important sector partners to advance our health system. I for one am looking forward to the year ahead and believe the future is brighter than ever.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy remainder of winter and here’s hoping for an early start to spring.
President and CEO