Collaboration = Future of Healthcare

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In March 2011, a press release announced early results from an innovative collaboration between Cleveland Clinic Canada and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Here is the release.


Patients coming into the Sunnybrook Emergency Department (ED) will now receive a “pre-triage” assessment immediately upon entering the department.

A first for Toronto, the concept of ‘pre-triage’ screening is a result of collaborative efforts between experts at Sunnybrook and Cleveland Clinic. One of the challenges the teams examined in their review of patient flow in the ED was ensuring those who entered the department at the same time were prioritized appropriately.

Although patients are assessed as soon as they enter the ED currently, the full triage process of taking vital signs and a patient history can take about 15 minutes per person. In a busy ED, when multiple patients enter the department at once, a pre-triage step can ensure the most seriously ill or injured patients are seen before others. It is anticipated that this will improve patient satisfaction and ensure every patient is prioritized in the most appropriate manner.

For the past few months, Cleveland Clinic, drawing upon their expertise in Toronto and in Cleveland, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre have been working together to learn more about how processes in the Emergency Department (ED) can be improved to reduce wait times and enhance the overall experience for patients.

“Working with Cleveland Clinic has been a highly beneficial experience for our teams in the Emergency Department,” said Barry McLellan, President and CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “Based on feedback from our staff and those involved from Cleveland, there has been a great sense of collegiality and willingness to do whatever it takes to improve the experience for patients and their families. We have learned from them and they have learned from us which is exactly what we wanted to achieve.”

There has been shared learning from both organizations and despite having origins in systems from the United States and Canada, the teams found there were often more similarities than differences between the hospitals and the needs of their patients. Both organizations have put forth a considerable effort to create innovative ideas to improve the efficient movement of patients in and out of the ED.

“Cleveland Clinic is excited to be working alongside Sunnybrook to improve the patient experience,” said Michael Kessel, President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic Canada. “This collaboration is all about leveraging our shared knowledge to create innovative solutions in patient care. At Cleveland Clinic Canada, we are proud to have facilitated this collaboration.”

In the future, the organizations will examine other areas where they can both share expertise and work towards a common goal of improving patient care.