The problem of “unconventional” services is eroding margins

Ontario hospitals look to ‘unconventional spaces,’ new staff models to ease pressures

Ontario’s 16 non-governmental acute care hospitals are struggling with a wave of “unconventional” services that are eroding margins, new Chief Executive Officer Dr. Michael Ford says.

The acute care systems, which provide emergency and non-emergency services, are struggling with rising patient wait times, a lack of inpatient beds and an erosion of patient satisfaction scores.

They also are facing the prospect of a shortage of new workers if hospitals begin to contract their staff in 2019, he says.

“If we get people to come for training, we should be able to train them (and) we should be able to recruit people at the same time because we all have to be in a position to have a number of people who are going to do that.”

The solution to the situation, he said, will involve a move to “unconventional spaces.” That could mean a shift in the way staff work in the workplace, rather than having them work from desk-to-desk with one another.

“We really don’t want to have a situation where people are spending time on the wall and emailing and then there is a time when there isn’t a face-to-face.”

In the past, hospital staff would work in the emergency room in addition to their other job functions, but that is not acceptable anymore, Ford said.

The hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Michael Gorman said it might be time to look at a new model.

“We have a need to be able to support the number of service lines that we have, particularly as we grow,” he said.

A move to a more remote model would be needed in the future, as those staff members who work in the hospital would be working from home and it’

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