1. Person-Centred, High-Quality, Safe and Sustainable Health and Wellness for Nova Scotians

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Improving co-ordination of surgical care


A task group on operating room efficiencies has helped the team begin tracking and reporting on key performance measures provincially, which will help the team see where things are working well and areas for improvement.

Perioperative leaders and teams now have access to new tools and reports to better measure, manage and improve wait times. A review of surgical wait times revealed the areas of surgery with the longest waits and teams have set five priorities for initial focus. Reducing waits for orthopedics (hip and knee replacements) is at the top of this list, along with urology, general surgery, otolaryngology (head and neck) and thoracic surgery.

A new provincial, multi-year action plan is underway to introduce a new wellness model for hip and knee patients and bring the wait time for these services within the national six month benchmark, by 2020. We are making progress and for the first time in many years, fewer Nova Scotians were waiting for surgery at the end of the year than when it started. Similar action plans are also being developed for other priority service areas and wait time data, and updates on efforts to improve access will soon be posted on the NSHA website. A volunteer patient representative has also been recruited to offer advice and support to this work.

And finally, the new provincial focus on surgical care has recently enabled Nova Scotia Health Authority to join the American College of Surgeon’s National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP). Developed by surgeons, the program tracks patient outcomes 30 days after their surgery and compares outcomes with those of other participating organizations programs, to help teams find ways to improve care or spread what is working well to other locations.

“We are proud to have 11of our sites taking part and are excited about how ACS NSQIP will help us improve care for Nova Scotians,” said Cindy Connolly, Director of Policy and Planning for Perioperative Services. “The program has the potential to help us prevent complications, save lives, reduce readmissions and lengths of stay, increase patient satisfaction, improve patient outcomes and could help us reduce costs to allow us to reinvest in other priorities.”

NSHA’s facilities have joined more than 800 other hospitals and programs benefitting worldwide, including hospitals in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland. One example is Surrey Memorial Hospital in British Columbia which reduced its general and vascular surgery surgical site infection (SSI) rate by 5.7 percent and its breast surgery infection rate by 13.3 percent over two years, improving outcomes for patients and saving more than $2.7 million.

Read Working with patients to create a strong foundation for quality surgical care.