This year,
CHEO turned 40.

Turning 40 is not all about gray hair and buying new cars (or shoes). We couldn’t be younger at heart. And we are focused on the future.

We started out in 1974 as a unique place for kids — one that would give the most loving care to the kids we love the most.

CHEO has grown up into a leading-edge pediatric centre. We’re innovating, reaching for the best – and our work now touches young lives around the world.

It's been two years since we launched CHEOnext – our ambitious action plan to transform pediatric care. Let’s take a closer look at our journey over the past year...

Getting ready
for the future

CHEO is the first hospital in Canada to aim for a fully integrated electronic health record system. This year Epic was activated in twenty-one clinics and teams. Epic brings us a big step closer to speeding up and improving the quality of our care. Patients will get their test results faster, and each of their physicians will have a complete picture of their health history.

But Epic is more than information sharing, and we have been bringing our patients with us every step of the way. This year, we successfully launched the pilot of MyChart, our patient portal. Some of CHEO’s patients and families are already using MyChart to easily access their health information so that they can better understand and make well-informed decisions about their own health care.

We’re happy to
be number 1

One of the biggest challenges in a hospital is bringing together so many specialties and roles to provide care that patients will find seamless.

CHEO's awards show our commitment to quality. Last year CHEO was ranked the #1 hospital in Ontario for employee satisfaction, recognized as having the top Emergency department care among teaching hospitals, named one of the top employers in the National Capital Region and chosen as one of the most admired corporate cultures in Canada. We are also proud to say we commit more resources to patient care and less to administration than any other hospital in our region.

Small Changes, Big Impact

This year our staff continued to work together as One Team using CHEOworks – our model to streamline workflow and improve care. Staff as well as patients and families suggested and made 542 improvements to patient care.

  • Staff on 4 North regularly heard from families about the uncomfortable chair-beds in patient rooms. Many parents spend every night with their child in the hospital, and those with chronic back problems were feeling the pain. Staff did some research and purchased three cots, which fold up for easy storing, and are a lot more comfortable – a real break for parents and caregivers after a long day.
  • A nurse on 5 East noticed that there was no change table on the 5th floor for visitors to use. With help from several departments at CHEO, the 5th floor now has a change table — making life a little easier for parents and caregivers. After all, a baby with a clean behind is a happy baby, which makes for a happy parent!
  • Staff in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit were frustrated by the lack of storage for children's toys, books and craft supplies. Scavenging an unused storage cabinet, the team worked with Child Life specialists who stocked it with items everyone can borrow. An inexpensive fix that made a big difference!
  • Staff on 4 East noticed that some families with infants were unable to get baby supplies such as baby scented body wash and lotions. Not wanting any baby to miss out, a Child Life specialist gathered a small stock of supplies from CHEO's Volunteer Resources who collect them year-round. Samples are now kept on the unit and given to families who need them.

Getting over the
hard knocks

Last year we helped more than 500,000 kids. And every year, we find new ways to make kids better – and make things a little easier for their families. CHEO’s new Concussion Clinic opened its doors in 2014 in an off-campus location that’s friendly and relaxed for children and teens to visit. With more concussions happening in sports and everyday life, the Concussion Clinic helps patients to manage the difficult sequel of a brain injury – helping them to get back to school and normal life sooner.

Other new services at CHEO speed up as well as improve treatment. The KidCare Pharmacy helps cancer patients and others find the specialized drugs they need in kid friendly formulas – right onsite at CHEO. A new 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine improves diagnosis and will reduce surgical wait times. And a new unit for monitoring epilepsy patients will help doctors see what’s really going on in the brain of a child with serious seizures.

Connecting your Care

Why do something okay when you can do something great together? We know that by working with our partners we can improve care for kids and youth. For example, this year CHEO opened a Child and Youth Protection Clinic in partnership with the Children’s Aid Society. This team can get a complete picture of a child who has suffered from abuse or neglect, and help families connect to help sooner. CHEO also collaborated with the Child and Youth Health Network of Eastern Ontario to release a report on social factors like poverty, housing, education and health behaviors that have a major influence on children’s well-being.

By continuing to connect our care, we can give all kids in our communities, from Eastern Ontario to Nunavut, better chances for a healthy life.

patient care

What if you discovered that genes in your family can cause a heart condition and even sudden death – but doctors can prevent it? One of the most exciting things happening at CHEO is our leading-edge work in genetics. It will put new tools and knowledge in the hands of clinicians and propel CHEO into the era of personalized medicine.

But patents on human genes can stand in the way. Did you know that—in some cases—companies control the rights to genetic information through patents?

That’s why this year CHEO launched a legal challenge against the patent holders of five genes related to Long QT syndrome, a heart rhythm disorder. Sadly, patents can prevent a doctor from telling patients they have the syndrome. This is just wrong. Human beings deserve full access to information about their bodies.

We hope this legal challenge will bring clarity to gene patenting in Canada and protect the future of genetic medicine, as our researchers continue to make new discoveries every day.

In 2014, CHEO Research Institute was the fastest-growing pediatric research centre in Canada.

Our researchers made 391 discoveries last year!

Research ensures that everything we do at CHEO is both cutting-edge and globally connected – from rare disease gene discoveries to developing new cancer-killing viruses.

Our researchers’ findings change young lives in Canada and around the world.

To learn about the CHEO Research Institute’s discoveries, check out the annual report.

Learn More


CHEO’s researchers are internationally recognized in the field of rare disease research. The CARE for RARE team, led at CHEO, includes 21 genetics centres, 50 scientists and 80 physicians. Since 2011:

  • 1,133 patients and family members enrolled
  • 417 diseases investigated
  • 232 rare disease genes and gene mutations identified
  • 3 new therapies in testing

Many heads are
better than one

When a child or teen is admitted to CHEO, she and her parents may experience a whirlwind of emotions – fear, relief, anxiety and bewilderment. At CHEO, we know how stressful it is when a child is sick or hurt, and we want to make sure the experience of patients and parents is factored into how we design our services. To make sure we deliver the best possible health care, we turn to the people who know firsthand what it’s like.

This year we launched an Experience Based Co-Design (EBCD) project in CHEO’s oncology program, where we asked staff and families to tell us what their ‘ideal CHEO experience’ would look like. Thanks to the input of dozens of patients who’ve been treated for cancer and their parents, one of our top priorities will now be providing better orientation to new cancer patients.

Other projects that increased patient and family involvement:

  • Our Bedside Rounding project directly involves parents in discussions about their child’s health. Parents actively participate in rounds and are encouraged to ask questions and provide input to their child’s care team. Parents have indicated that they love this practice and want it to continue.
  • Input we gathered from parents, youth and health care providers will help us create a mental health strategic plan to provide better services tailored the needs of the children and youth in our community.

The seeds we sow...

There’s no easy roadmap to the future of health care for children and youth. Twenty years from now there will be 70,000 more kids in our community. Starting today, we need to make sure we invest in the health of children and youth, because the benefits will be dramatic: better lifelong health, less chronic disease, and healthier adults who can contribute to our society and our economy.

Together, we can help the children and youth of this community get the best possible start in life.

2014-2015 in numbers

View the 2013 Annual Report