ETHP becomes one of the first Ontario Health Teams to receive internationally recognized Best Practice Spotlight Organization designation

East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, has become one of the first OHTs to achieve a longstanding, internationally recognized designation from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). 

The Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) designation recognizes health service and academic organizations that have successfully implemented a series of best practice guidelines (BPGs) to optimize health outcomes at the individual, organizational and health system levels. In 2019, RNAO expanded the BPSO program to include a new cohort for OHTs. 

“This designation is the result of four years of hard work, building capacity among partners to implement best practice guidelines and share evidence-based practice and education materials across the different sectors of care,” says Margery Konan, Manager of Integrated Care at ETHP. “It’s exciting to be one of the first OHTs to do this work, and to be recognized for all of our efforts is really special.” 

ETHP was awarded their BPSO OHT designation in a ceremony at the RNAO Annual General Meeting on June 20. Attendees included Dr. Claudette Holloway, President at RNAO; Doris Grinspun, CEO at RNAO; Michelle E. DiEmanuele, Ontario’s Secretary of the Cabinet, Head of the Public Service and Clerk of the Executive Council; Dr. Karima Velji, Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice and Assistant Deputy Minister for the Province of Ontario; and Dr. Michelle Rey-Lloyd, Director of International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Centre at RNAO, making this an exciting opportunity to show off the work of ETHP and recognize RNAO for their ongoing partnership. 

We’ve had so much support from RNAO over the course of this work, not just in the context of the BPSO work but over the years and through the pandemic,” Margery says. 

“It’s pretty amazing that we can come together in-person to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also to provide some visibility to the OHT model of care, which we feel strongly about and are working towards as a province.” 

Program helps align patient education, practices and resources  

Launched in 2003, the BPSO program aims to create evidence-based practice cultures through the implementation and evaluation of RNAO clinical BPGs – recommendations and implementation tips pertaining to infrastructure, knowledge exchange, capacity building, dissemination, evaluation and reporting. 

The BPSO OHT program shares the same goals but with a unique, four-year partnership model that supports robust staff engagement across OHT member organizations. 

Since 2019, ETHP member organizations have worked to implement improvement initiatives for four BPGs covering person and family-centred care, transitions in care and services, and preventing falls and reducing injury from falls. The first two BPGs are required of all BPSO OHTs, while the latter was selected by ETHP leadership to align with ETHP’s priority populations and needs. 

“Our member organizations all have excellent practices in place around the four clinical guideline areas, but when we started doing this work, we noticed that there was considerable variation because the information is contextualized to when and where patients are at in their care journey,” says Matthew Wong, Director of Professional Practice and Clinical Education at VHA Home HealthCare, and Co-chair of the ETHP BPSO Steering Committee. 

“This can be really difficult for patients who seek care at multiple organizations, so we saw a valuable opportunity to leverage the BPSO OHT program to align patient education, practices and resources across hospital, primary, home and community care in East Toronto.” 

Contributions of community members 

Development of these guidelines relies on the contributions of ETHP members, who help document gaps and opportunities, and select quality improvement initiatives and measurement plans, that cross organizational boundaries. 

This includes the contributions of community members like Marie-Chantal Ethier, a community advisor who lives in East Toronto with her young family. As Co-lead of the ETHP BPSO Steering Committee, she shares her lived experiences and leverages her background in clinical research, data and quality improvement to ensure local residents are represented in this work. 

“Community member participation is important because it ensures that the community has a voice. It also ensures that community perspectives are considered in various aspects of the work, including planning, implementation and evaluation,” Marie-Chantal says.  

“Our committee structure provides a meaningful opportunity for the community to co-develop best practices with several partner organizations, which ultimately will positively impact individuals in East Toronto.” 

Throughout the four-year partnership, ETHP members also developed toolkits, handouts, peer networking groups and an eLearning module to help ETHP members learn more about the BPGs and how to put their skills into action in every day work. 

“This program adds a tangible frontline participation to the OHT work, which is something we can be really proud of,” Margery says.  

“It provides a meaningful opportunity for patients and healthcare providers to collectively co-develop best practices and see themselves leading the work towards a more effective healthcare system,” Matt adds. 

Expanding our partnership 

Though the BPSO OHT designation is now official, the work doesn’t stop here, Margery says. The next two years, which are referred to as the designate period, come with their own exciting opportunities. 

“As we work with RNAO to confirm goals and expectations for the next two years, we’re looking forward to expanding our number of partners in the BPSO OHT initiative,” she says. 

“We started with a small group of four core organizations and are hoping to expand that to six to eight core partners. We also want to pursue opportunities to deepen the reach of some of our guidelines – directly with communities and caregivers and across some of those future members. It’s a really exciting time for ETHP.” 

To learn more about ETHP’s journey to becoming a BPSO OHT, including the BPGs and related resources referenced above, please visit our BPSO OHT page. 

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