September 29, 2022 – St. John’s, NL: Eastern Health held its annual general meeting (AGM) today, hosted by Leslie O’Reilly, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Kenneth Baird, President and CEO (Interim). During the AGM, Eastern Health provided an overview of its performance in 2021-22, completing the second fiscal year of the organization’s 2020-23 Strategic Plan, Putting Excellence into Action.
“I am proud once again of the work Eastern Health’s employees, physicians and volunteers have done over the course of the 2021-22 fiscal year,” said Mr. O’Reilly. “Our health-care system has been through an unprecedented year and the response of our employees and physicians to rise to the challenges they have faced has been outstanding. Despite these challenges, Eastern Health continues to make great progress to meet our objectives in our 2020-23 Strategic Plan. I thank our compassionate and dedicated employees, physicians, volunteers, and community partners for rallying together over these past few years and for continuing to deliver quality care to our patients, clients, and residents every day.”
Putting Excellence into Action outlines five priority areas in which Eastern Health’s performance is measured, including Access, Quality and Safety, Population Health, Healthy Workplace, and Sustainability. Below are some highlights of the organization’s performance in each of these areas.
Access: Eastern Health remains committed to reducing wait times for mental health and addictions services. Wait times have decreased for child psychiatry while child and adolescent counselling wait times remained stable. Work is ongoing to improve access to adult psychiatry wait times which have seen a slight increase. There has also been significant work in helping seniors stay healthy and independent at home with an increase in the number of annual assessments and support plans completed. As well, Eastern Health has increased access to community-based comprehensive respiratory care program for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and asthma, making it easier for patients to receive community-based care with the goal of reducing hospitalizations. Eastern Health is also working towards improving access to primary health care for individuals without a primary health-care provider with the expansion of two additional collaborative team clinics and a community walk-in clinic.
Quality and Safety: Eastern Health strives to foster a culture of safety and reduce the risk of harm in the organization. Eastern Health has been focused on improving medication reconciliation. This process supports the communication of accurate and complete medication information among health-care providers at all points of care with the goal of preventing adverse drug events and patient harm. During the 2021-22 fiscal year, Eastern Health is reporting an increase in medication reconciliation compliance over the last fiscal year. As well, Eastern Health is committed to Client-and-Family-Centered Care (CFCC), which ensures that patients, clients, residents, and families have a voice to become active partners in the delivery of health care. Eastern Health uses the results of these surveys to make improvements to service delivery.
Population Health: Eastern Health has worked towards embedding smoking cessation within clinical practice so that these efforts are coordinated, systemized and integrated into all health-care settings within Eastern Health. As a result, the estimated percentage of hospitalized smokers who received smoking cessation services at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital increased from 23.1% in 2020-21 to 25.0% in 2021-22. Eastern Health has continued to implement its e-health digital innovation strategy, through the availability of self-scheduling of appointments for flu and COVID-19 vaccines at mass clinics and enhanced use of virtual meeting technologies among clients and partners. These advancements to e-health and digital services have improved population health by increasing access to health information.
Healthy Workplace: Eastern Health strives to provide its employees, physicians, and volunteers with the resources and support necessary to achieve personal wellness, professional growth, and excellence. Eastern Health continues to ensure employees and physicians have easy access to psychological support when and where they need it. In 2021, Eastern Health administered the standardized Caring for Healthcare Workers survey that measured selected factors outlined in this standard. The results of this survey showed an improvement in two out of five psychological factors and the organization will continue to survey employees to ensure programs have the tools they need to improve results.
Sustainability: Eastern Health recognizes the importance of being sustainable, and is committed to leading and supporting innovation that contributes to the achievement of its strategic goals. As a result, the estimated gross domestic product growth invested within the province because of increased innovation within Eastern Health amounted to $10.3 million in 2021-22. In addition, Eastern Health continues to focus on enhancing clinical efficiencies and improving appropriateness of care. Eastern Health was successful in reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics by 1.6 per cent last year, and has also reduced its environmental impact through the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 3,234 tonnes in 2021-22.
“It is an honour to work with a group of employees, physicians, managers, volunteers and partners who have yet again provided exceptional care to our patients, clients and residents despite all the challenges they have faced over the course of this fiscal year,” said Mr. Baird. “In addition to meeting these challenges, Eastern Health has also made great progress in achieving our goals midway through our strategic plan. We will continue to use the goals and objectives to guide us as we make improvements to our programs and services for all those we serve.”
The Annual Performance Report 2021-2022 is available in its entirety on Eastern Health’s website at www.easternhealth.ca/about-us/achieving-our-aim.
About Eastern Health
Eastern Health is the largest, integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador employing approximately 13,000 dedicated employees, over 600 medical staff, and is supported by approximately 2,000 volunteers, including members of numerous auxiliaries and fundraising foundations. With an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, the authority offers the full continuum of health and community services including public health, long- term care, community services, hospital care and unique provincial programs and services. Serving a population of over 300,000, Eastern Health’s geographic boundaries extend west from St. John’s to Port Blandford including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas.