Our strategy for Transforming care, Together: 2019 - 2024

 A strategic plan is a key part of an organization’s commitment to excellence. This plan will guide our day-to-day decision making over the next five years and serve as a roadmap to navigate our rapidly changing health care system as we work together with patients, families and health system partners to improve the health of our communities. Please read on to learn more about our plan to transform care, together.

As an integrated health sciences centre we have new and better opportunities to deliver care where and how it is needed most, to transform the patient experience and to improve the health of people across our region and beyond.

Our story

In April of 2017, Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) and Kingston General Hospital (KGH) joined together to create the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). As a single organization, KHSC offers a continuum of complex, acute and specialty care, research and teaching in both inpatient and outpatient settings for patients and families from across southeastern Ontario. Prior to integration, our two hospitals had a proven history of actively working together to meet patients’ needs. As one hospital with one strategy, one team and one budget, we have new and better opportunities to deliver care where and how it is needed most, to transform the patient experience and to improve the health of people across our region and beyond.

We can’t embark on this journey to transform care alone. Today’s patients are getting older and sicker and are living with more complex conditions . Their care often comes from multiple providers in different settings. To improve the health of our communities, we must partner in new ways with health and social service providers to build strong partnerships that focus on quality and innovation to ensure that the patient journey through our regional health care system feels as smooth and supportive as possible.

Patients and families are active members of our care teams and have an important voice within our system. KHSC is deeply committed to the principles of patient- and family-centered care, which include dignity and respect, information sharing, participation and collaboration. We partner with patients and families by ensuring that patient advisors contribute to every decision that impacts the patient experience. This partnership will continue to define who we are as an academic health sciences centre and provide inspiration for the research, teaching and care we provide.

Our five-year strategy for Transforming care, together was shaped by more than two thousand people who work, learn, volunteer, receive care at and partner with KHSC. It positions us for a bold future where a steady focus on quality, innovation and partnership helps us to transform our regional health care system. It describes a world-class health care, research and teaching environment that we all know is possible and that our patients and families deserve. 

Fortunately, we are building on our strengths and this plan will help us leverage what we are already doing well, embrace challenges, keep us focused on our aspirations, and leverage the strengths of our communities and our people to position KHSC for success.

Our strategy development process

To develop the strategic directions outlined in this five-year plan, we took a close look at the environment in which we operate and the forces of change that are shaping our health care system. We examined the population health demographics of our region to better understand what health, cultural and social needs exist and how to provide responsive care. We also met with individual communities to learn about their specific health care needs and conducted in-depth conversations with more than 2,000 people from both within our organization and across our region to inform our work. This helped us understand how best to align our strengths, resources and capabilities with our collective aspiration to make our communities healthier while transforming our health care system.

Where we are today

Southeastern Ontario is home to a rapidly aging population with growing rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and heart diseases. Unlike in more urban regions of Ontario, the 500,000 members of our community are spread out over a large geographic and mostly rural area, which can make access to care challenging.  

However, these challenges can also be opportunities. We know that many of our patients do not travel outside of the Southeast region for care. As a top research facility brimming with inquisitive minds, we have the capacity to take a close look at our unique health demographics and to identify long-term solutions to address the health issues we see here in our communities. Our large rural population also forces us to think creatively about partnering with other providers to make care more available in the community and about how to make it easier to access that care.

As stewards of public dollars, we are constantly looking for new ways to ensure that our care remains affordable and sustainable within the funding provided to us as an academic hospital. At the same time, we must invest in our spaces and keep pace with technology in order to maintain our high standards of care and facilitate better flow of information for enhanced safety, convenience and coordination. This requires us to use our dollars wisely and to maintain trust with donors who support our hospital through the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation.

Engaging our community

Since fall of 2017 we have held over 90 different engagement sessions and spoken with 2,189 people who work, learn, volunteer, partner with and receive care at KHSC.

Watch our launch video here:

What we heard from our community

We undertook a robust engagement process over the course of a full year to help us shape our future.  We held numerous conversations with people who work, learn and volunteer at KHSC through all-staff open forums, physician forums and conversations with teams across our hospital sites. As a newly integrated health sciences centre, we began with the exciting work of crafting our mission and values together. We also sought input on a longer-term vision for KHSC’s future. We then shifted the conversation to include our community, health, social services and education partners as we began to consider proposed strategic directions. Using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Quadruple Aim as a framework, we asked people to share their observations about what we were already doing well and where we had room to progress with respect to delivering better care and promoting better health at the best value, all while fostering joy in our work.

We received a lot of valuable feedback. We heard from people at KHSC about what will help them feel joy in their work and support their wellness. We heard from our partners about how we can best meet patients’ needs together. We heard that we have opportunities to change our practices to better coordinate with other providers in the health care system to ensure quality experiences at every step of a patient’s health care journey. We heard about ways through which we can provide better and more collaborative education for our learners, who are the health care providers of tomorrow. We heard strong support for KHSC seizing opportunities to create a more seamless, integrated health care system for the people of southeastern Ontario.

Take a look into our engagement sessions and see what we learned to help inform our strategic plan:

We asked people to share their observations about what we were already doing well and where we had room to progress with respect to delivering better care and promoting better health at the best value, all while fostering joy in our work.
  • Staff brought their perspectives to the table

    From joining team meetings to hosting open staff forums, we asked everyone who works, learns and volunteers at KHSC how they want to see the health sciences centre develop over the next five years. Themes focused on improving the health of our communities and being a great place to work, learn and receive care. Everyone agreed that they want to continue to improve on the work they love: providing safe, high quality care for patients. It’s why they got into health care, after all. 

  • Bringing leaders together to discuss the future

    The leadership group not only played a key role in sharing their own thoughts about what our priorities should be, but also worked hard to engage their teams and help all of our staff   connect to the planning process. 

  • Our steering committee played a key role in shaping our future

    The strategic planning process was overseen by a committee of executive leaders and patient advisors with representation from Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences. This group played a crucial role by providing valuable feedback and guidance to steer the process forward.

  • Seeking input from our Board

    The KHSC Board of Directors was regularly engaged along the process to provide their oversight, input and support. Two Board planning sessions provided the opportunity for this group to contribute directly to strategy development.

  • Physicians provided a dose of insight on KHSC’s future plans

    Our medical staff members were highly engaged throughout this process, from sharing their input at physician open forums to offering support and feedback through our Medical Advisory Committee.

  • Learning from our patients and families

    Timely, clear communication is needed throughout any patient’s care journey no matter how different their care needs. KHSC and regional Patient and Family Advisory Council members shared what patients see as barriers and helped to identify key improvement questions to consider. How can the hospital keep family doctors informed about what is going on? How can technology be strengthened to give patients the information they need to know, faster? How can we continue to advance patient- and family-centered care? 

  • Engaging with our partners in education

    For our patients, being a teaching hospital means that a higher level of tertiary or specialized care is available closer to home. Our partners in education reinforced the importance of proudly branding ourselves as an academic organization, providing a more comprehensive experience for students in different sectors, and exploring new partnership opportunities between the hospital and local educational institutions. 

  • Engaging with health care and social services partners

    Our community health and social service partners, such as local long-term care homes, paramedics and community care providers were also asked to share their ideas on how to improve care for patients.  Working together and focusing on better communication and planning for discharge and transfers, keeping primary care providers informed of patients’ hospital experience, and finding innovative ways for patients to access care will all contribute to a better experience.

    We also sought feedback from our Indigenous and Francophone communities about how we can work together to provide culturally sensitive, accessible care.

    Together, we can implement opportunities that improve patients’ experiences. 

  • Seeking input from our learners

    A group of medical residents shared ideas about how we can position our institution as a leading-edge place to learn.  They noted that while an average hospital provides care, an exceptional hospital provides wellness. This concept aligns with our commitment to care for our people. 

Our approach

Our strategy development process included a detailed environmental scan, an analysis of population health demographics, a close look at our organization’s current performance, and hundreds of conversations with stakeholders about the future of KHSC. It’s fair to say we learned a lot. To make sense of it all, we used a SOAR analysis to help us prioritize what we learned and choose what to act on in our strategic directions for the future so that we can leverage our existing strengths and capitalize on opportunities in our environment as we move toward our aspirations for the future and the results we want to achieve. 

Here are some of the items that we must remember when thinking about the future of the organization:

  • Providing excellent patient- and family-centred care

    We partner with patients and families in all aspects of care, safety and quality-improvement initiatives, and invite them to participate as full partners in care.  When making decisions that have a material impact on the patient experience, a patient is present at the decision-making table. This long-standing approach to patient- and family-centered care has positioned us as leaders amongst our peers. 

  • Delivering quality in everything that we do

    Quality is the foundation of all that we do. It shows up not just at the bedside in the care we provide to patients and families, but also in our leadership, our culture and our patient outcomes. Our work is driven by our quality agenda, and we equip everyone in the organization to improve quality every day.

  • Building and sustaining positive relationships with partners, staff, patients and families.

    We are constantly strengthening the relationships we have, and we are actively seeking new partnerships to improve the patient experience. For example, work is underway to design regional care pathways for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or hip fractures, and we are developing new programs to provide care in more accessible locations when that best meets patients' needs. 

  • Responding to population health needs in our region and forces of change in health care

    Our region is unique – we have higher rates of chronic disease throughout a highly rural and geographically large region, making access to care challenging for many.  Health care is constantly changing and we need to determine how to best serve our unique population while adapting to new legislation, funding models, facilities improvements, and migrating to a digital Hospital Information System. 

  • Making our care accessible

    As we build partnerships in the community, we must explore ways to become a hospital beyond walls. By bringing our people and their skills into the community or our partners into the hospital when it makes sense to do so, we can redefine what it means to be a tertiary care centre while giving patients more. 

  • Building an engaged workforce

    Our caregivers are passionate about what they do, and they need more time to focus on what really matters to them – providing patient care. We heard consistently from staff that we need to explore ways to improve the quality of the time they spend on patient care, which will improve their joy in work. 

  • Ensuring our tertiary care is affordable and sustainable

    It’s important to consider the financial health of our organization as we plan for our future and the resources we may require. We must find opportunities to continue being responsible stewards of public resources by finding efficiencies and laying the foundation for the future of our organization and the health care system. 

  • Managing complex change and being adaptive in the rapidly changing health care environment

    We must find ways to be prepared for any and all changes that come our way. By developing robust partnerships and being nimble and adaptable, we will be better prepared to manage the rapidly changing environment in which we work.

  • Making our communities healthier

    We want to make visible our impact on the overall health of our population and to provide culturally sensitive care. Our region has high rates of chronic disease and smoking and we want to find innovative and effective ways to improve our population’s health and their access to care.

  • Integrating all parts of the system

    We aim to see smooth, safe, clear and easy transitions in care for all of our patients. This will be enhanced through a regional hospital information system and strong partnerships across the region.

  • Realizing our academic potential

    By strengthening our brand as a teaching and research hospital, we will continue to attract learners and will become a destination for recent graduates and top researchers. 

Our mission, vision and values

KHSC is a brand new academic health sciences centre that builds on our proud traditions as Hotel Dieu Hospital and Kingston General Hospital, with legacies spanning back over 150 years. Our first planning process provided the exciting opportunity for us to engage with our KHSC community to help to define our purpose, our shared values and our desired future state for KHSC. Read on to learn about our mission, vision and values, or to hear from our people about the future of KHSC, click here.

Each care journey can be defined by a series of actions, moments or breakthroughs.

Everyday actions are all about the little things we do to make a difference, like stopping to provide directions in the hallway or taking the time to provide words of support to a worried family. Significant moments are hard to forget – here, that can mean receiving a new diagnosis, welcoming a new baby into your family, or walking on your own for the first time after a hip replacement. Exciting breakthroughs can be life-changing events or being on the team that performed the first surgery of its kind in Canada. The impact of these advances can ripple through entire communities, in southeastern Ontario and beyond. At KHSC, it’s our mission to support our patients, families and each other throughout everyone’s individual and unique journey.  

Legacy mission statements

KHSC is built on the foundation of two proud hospitals – Hotel Dieu Hospital and Kingston General Hospital. To read more about our legacy sites, click here.

KHSC aims to play a role in transforming our health care system. We can’t do this alone. Strengthening our partnerships, developing a robust quality roadmap, embracing innovation, making groundbreaking discoveries in research, and training the care providers of tomorrow will all contribute to improving the health of the communities and region we serve. With our collective expertise, we can serve as a model for health system transformation.

At the heart of our values is compassion. We care for some of the sickest and most vulnerable people in our communities. We treat each person with respect and dignity. We do this by caring for the whole person, when and where they need it most. Partnership is at the core of how we work. We empower patients, families and our teams to do great work together, and with our communities. The pursuit of excellence drives everything we do. We will be good stewards of resources while continually enhancing the quality of care, research and education we provide. Research and innovation reflect our courage to try new things, challenge what we know, create new knowledge and transform health care.

Strategic direction 1. Ensure quality in every patient experience

We aim to create a quality patient experience where excellence is embedded in everything we do. By creating a quality roadmap, we will provide the necessary structure, focus and support for us to achieve this goal. We will position KHSC as a high performer on the key dimensions of quality to ensure we are always delivering care that is safe, effective, patient-centred, efficient, timely and equitable. This work will be supported through construction and improvements to care environments to best suit the needs of our patients, families and care teams.

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To achieve this strategic direction we will:

  • Make quality the foundation of everything we do.

KHSC will create a robust culture of quality by building a roadmap to prioritize quality aims, training our teams to engage in quality improvement and aligning their work to areas that will make the biggest difference to our communities. As a result of this work, staff will have the support that they need to make quality improvement a part of their daily work and KHSC will benchmark as a high performer amongst Ontario’s academic hospitals and on Health Quality Ontario’s dimensions of quality.

  • Ensure smooth transitions in care for patients and families across our regional health-care system.

We want all of our patients and their families to have better access to and transitions in care. We will continue working with our health system partners to create regional care pathways that address the priority health needs of the people who live in this region. As a result of this work, patients and families, including those who are vulnerable and marginalized, will have better access to and transitions in care and they will experience the same standard of quality no matter where they seek care in the region.

  •  Lead the evolution of patient engagement and patient- and family-centred care.

We will continue to partner with patients and families on all decisions that have an impact on the patient experience in our hospital. As a result of this work, patients and families will be full partners in their care teams, and in the work we do as an academic health sciences centre. We will continue to work with our communities to understand their unique health care needs and to ensure that the care we provide is culturally sensitive and respects diversity.

  • Create the space for better care.

We must invest in our spaces and keep pace with technology in order to maintain our high standards of care and facilitate better flow of information for enhanced safety, convenience and care coordination. During the life of this plan, we will launch major improvements to our physical environment as we completely rebuild outdated areas of our KGH site to create a new home for our emergency department, maternal and neo-natal care, operating rooms and clinical laboratories. Our communities will be inspired to provide philanthropic support through donations to the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation. This will help ensure that we contribute the required local share for this $500 million project along with facility improvements at the HDH site.

Strategic direction 2. Nurture our passion for caring, leading and learning

A quality work environment touches everyone who steps inside our hospital, especially patients and families. KHSC will support an engaged workforce by nurturing a positive, healthy environment and strengthening our culture of safety. By looking for new or faster ways to tackle tasks that detract from providing care, we will aim to support our people so they can improve the quality of the time they spend with patients, families and each other. Together with leaders across our organization, we will empower and equip our people while inspiring our teams to do their very best work.

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To achieve this strategic direction we will:

  • Foster a safe, healthy, innovative working environment that inspires and motivates the people who work, learn and volunteer at KHSC.

We are committed to implementing innovative people practices to enhance joy in work so that KHSC has a stable, engaged workforce where people find meaning in what they do. We will enhance our culture of safety so that everyone who works, learns and volunteers at KHSC feels safe and supported every day. And, we work hard to create a positive, engaging environment where our people report high rates of wellness at work.

  • Improve the quality of the time we spend caring for patients, families and each other.

We will pursue quality improvement initiatives to streamline processes in ways that remove barriers and duplication in our work, allowing us to be more present and available to patients, families and each other. This means that our health care providers will have more time to do what they love – delivering safe, high quality, patient- and family-centred care.

  • Empower and develop our people.

We will enhance support for ongoing education so that our people are properly equipped to do their best work.

  • Develop confident, caring and capable leaders.

We will provide time, support and opportunities for leaders to learn, develop and grow so that our leaders stay highly engaged.

Strategic direction 3. Improve the health of our communities through partnership and innovation

We want to provide care that best meets every patient’s needs no matter where they are in our region or what their unique challenges may be. By working more closely with our health and social service partners we can make sure patients get the right care where and when it’s needed most. This might mean placing our experts and services in the community and actively involving community partners as members of our care teams.  At the same time, we want to continue our pursuit of innovation and discover new ways of delivering care, research and teaching to make our region healthier.

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To achieve this strategic direction we will:

  • Be a hospital beyond walls that delivers complex, acute and specialty care where and when it is needed most.

We will improve access to care across the region by placing our experts and services where they are needed most in the community and by including community, health and social service partners as active members of our inter-professional care, research and teaching teams. We will also work with our hospital partners to transform clinical processes here at KHSC and across our region through the implementation of a regional Hospital Information System. As a result of this work, there will be one patient information system that supports a coordinated patient journey throughout our regional health care system.

  • Discover and apply innovations that improve patient outcomes and make our communities healthier.

We are establishing an innovation portfolio that will identify and support key areas that are aligned to regional population health needs. As a result of this work, we will implement innovations that improve patient outcomes, while establishing key areas of excellence for which KHSC becomes renowned.

Strategic direction 4. Launch KHSC as a leading centre for research and education

Learning doesn’t end when a graduate crosses the stage – it’s an ongoing practice that we will embrace and foster at KHSC among our students, residents, staff and leaders. Working with our educational partners, we will restructure the way we deliver learning, support academic partnerships to strengthen our brand as a teaching and research hospital and position KHSC as a destination academic health sciences centre – a place where students, researchers and staff alike are inspired to learn and discover. By nurturing this culture of learning and the pursuit of knowledge, KHSC will remain on the leading edge of care, meaning that patients in southeastern Ontario will have access to world-class specialty and acute care, closer to home.

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To achieve this strategic direction we will:

  • Foster a culture of teaching, learning, research and scholarship.

KHSC strives to be a leader in the evolution of inter-professional education, as well as being an academic hospital that supports a patient-centred curriculum and research projects that are aligned with regional population health needs. We will work together with our educational partners to plan and deliver the highest quality learning experience. In partnership with our research institutes, we will engage southeastern Ontario as a living laboratory for patient-oriented research and our communities will be inspired to provide philanthropic support for research. Supported through a formal organizational learning portfolio, we will build a strong brand as a centre for teaching, learning and scholarship. As a result of this work, our learners will report high satisfaction with the learning environment at KHSC, placement opportunities will align with our region’s health care needs and research discoveries will benefit patients and families across our region.

Our next steps

As we transform care together, quality, innovation and partnership will show up as foundations to all that we do. They will be evident not just in the care environment we provide to patients and families, but also in our leadership, partnership with patients, culture and in the outcomes we achieve with our patients. Our approach to innovation will be driven by our quality agenda, and our ‘people plans’ will equip everyone in the organization with the language and tools to improve quality every day. Our first strategic plan sets Kingston Health Sciences Centre on a course to go beyond the individual strengths of its legacy hospital sites to create a bold new future that will see our communities become healthier and our health care system transform.

So what’s next? Every year, we create an Annual Corporate Plan that aligns our annual goals to our strategic directions and creates focus across the organization. This helps us to plan the work that we must complete to achieve our goals and allows us to create measurable outcomes so that we can track our success as we progress through each year of the strategy.

To read the latest Annual Corporate Plan as part of this strategy, click here.

To download a copy of our strategic directions, click here:


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