Creating a culture of innovation

Despite her recent retirement as the Head of the Department of Oncology, it’s been a busy few months for Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhauer. In December it was announced that she would be invested into the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada Julie Payette in a ceremony in Ottawa later this year. Now, she’s been tapped by Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) to develop the organization’s first innovation portfolio.

“We’re still very early in our process, but we’re looking to promote and nurture the innovation that is already here, lift up the innovative ideas that exist at KHSC and spread them to other departments within the hospital, and to find innovation elsewhere in the world and bring it back to Kingston,” says Dr. Eisenhauer.

The portfolio will have two main pillars:  the first will be focused on patient outcomes within the hospital itself, in collaboration with faculty and staff. The second will explore opportunities to partner outside the walls of the hospital to improve the delivery of care and population health outcomes.

“We hope to really create a culture of innovation and to give our teams permission to innovate and become leaders in the health-care sector,” says KHSC Chief of Staff, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick. “We need to make a shift so we’re not so averse to taking risks and to have our teams feel like it’s okay to take a chance and to try something new.”

To create the innovation strategy, Dr. Eisenhauer has been busy meeting with committees and leaders across the organization to understand what they would like to see included in KHSC’s efforts. She’s also been travelling to meet with leaders in other organizations outside Kingston to see what they have in place to support innovation in their hospitals and regions.

“I believe that innovation should not be restricted to the important work of creating new programs, technologies or treatments,” says Dr. Eisenhauer. “It should be a thread in the tapestry of everything we do and how we do it.”

The new innovation portfolio will be closely aligned with KHSC’s overarching corporate strategy which is also currently in development. It will also appear as an important feature in our next Annual Corporate Plan. Once the innovation portfolio is agreed upon, KHSC leadership will make some decisions about what resources will be aligned to support innovation at KHSC.

“Innovation is about driving forwards towards better care, better value and efficiency, and improved models of care delivery. It’s about new approaches to fixing the problems in care delivery, and also anticipating where the world will be in the next decade – and leading the way to get there,” says Dr. Eisenhauer.

"Because care across KHSC is delivered by multidisciplinary teams, we want to empower everyone who works, learns and volunteers at KHSC to be innovative so that we’re always providing the highest quality of care for our patients.”

Photo credit: Matthew Manor

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