"Every day matters in the life of a child"

At CHEO, we make changes every day – some big, some small, but all with the goal of improving your care. In fact, this year we made 618 improvements to the way we do things.

This year we aimed to reduce wait times, put safety first, make the best use of every hour, and make improvements so that our patients and families get faster access to exceptional care. At the forefront of all these goals is our CHEOnext action plan, now in its third year.

Each day at CHEO we find inspiration in the children and families we care for. They inspire us to be the best at what we do.

Our work as One Team was recognized this year by Forbes Magazine – ranking CHEO #1 among health care employers in Canada.

But it all comes back to kids: there will be 1.3 million more children in Canada in 20 years, and looking after their health is good for all of us. When our kids grow up healthier, we reduce their lifelong health costs, and they do better as workers, innovators and citizens when they grow up. At CHEO, we call this Pedianomics. Here’s our CEO Alex Munter explaining how it works.

Going from good to great!

We’ve made many improvements this year, taking your care to the next level. Here are some of this year’s successes on the path from good to great:

Saving time, changing lives

We’re not wasting a single day.

This year CHEO saved 22,878 days for children waiting for elective surgery. That’s roughly 63 years that CHEO patients will not need to spend waiting! We are committed to decreasing wait times wherever possible.

Everybody wants to have a little fun

A new volunteer program brings fun and support to technology-dependent children.

CHEO’s new Complex Care Volunteer program is bringing fun and companionship to children with complex conditions, like those who need a tracheotomy or ventilator to breathe. These kids rely on a lot of high-tech equipment, making it difficult for them to play with others. Volunteers visit them to play games and even help them brighten up their rooms with decorations.


Medical Imaging aimed high and scored 17,105 Days Saved.

CHEO’s Medical Imaging team is always on duty to take the x-rays, CAT scans and MRIs that we rely on for diagnosis and surgery. They went for gold and scored 17,105 Days Saved. That is time our patients didn’t have to spend waiting for medical imaging. A lot of effort went into recruiting more sonographers and technologists and reorganizing to have the unit running at 100% capacity. As a result, we cleared a significant backlog, reduced wait times, and put the needs of our young patients first to provide an exceptional experience.

The road to absolute zero

Our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is making children safer with every breath.

We solved a problem facing hospitals around the world. CHEO’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) team has been working hard to reduce the number of unplanned extubations –what happens when a breathing tube is lost or dislodged. This can put a critically ill child at risk and lead to longer stays in intensive care. After extensive research, staff created a new system and brought unplanned extubations down from 10 - 12 per year to 1 - 2, which is possibly the lowest rate in the country. But they’re not done yet – the goal next year is zero!

Pumping up our efficiency

CHEO’s Diabetes team has reduced wait times by 15 months!

CHEO’s Diabetes team reduced wait times for patients to get started on an insulin pump. By streamlining the process, training and staffing, they drastically reduced wait times from 18 months to only three months. That’s an 83% decrease in wait times that has hugely improved access to care for our patients.

The more the merrier

CHEO’s Torticollis team increased access to care by 70%.

CHEO’s Torticollis team wanted to reduce wait times, so they created a program to assess patients in a group format. The team is now able to see 70% more children with torticollis (a disorder of the neck muscle), all while providing the same level of quality care to each patient.

Proactive plan gets children home sooner

Parents of high-risk inpatients are being taught CPR earlier so their child can leave CHEO sooner.

Thanks to a new action plan, parents of inpatients considered to be high-risk are now being given CPR training sooner. High-risk inpatients include children with devices like pacemakers, oxygen saturation monitors, or new tracheotomy tubes. Delays in scheduling training sessions sometimes kept children from leaving CHEO. Now parents of high-risk inpatients are identified early and receive CPR training well before taking their child home.

Breaking the mold

CHEO’s plaster clinic has always been a hotbed of activity. We made it easier to visit.

Each year the Orthopedic Clinic/Body Shop sees more than 17,000 children for injuries or fractures. In the past, patients and families could spend the whole morning seeing the orthopedic team, getting x-rays and then returning to have a cast put on or removed. On some days the clinic could see over 100 patients, on others fewer than 50. But with some creative scheduling changes, the plaster clinic is now able to keep to a steady pace and spread appointments equally over 5 mornings a week. Kids and parents spend less time in the waiting room, and the clinic staff is certainly happier.

Getting it right the first time

A new physician referral guide is sending children to the right doctor at the right time for the right services.

Many family doctors were unsure of the differences between the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, First Words, and the CHEO Rehabilitation Program, which all work with children with special needs. This made it difficult to refer a patient to the most appropriate care provider. To solve this, staff teamed up to create a physician referral guide clarifying each agency’s mandate and services. Contact between the agencies and providers has improved tremendously, and children are being referred to the right program at the right time for the right services.

Making dollars out of change

Environmental Services has saved CHEO $165,000 and counting!

We’ve been able to cut our laundry costs here at CHEO by 21%. Environmental Services staff tracked and analyzed data on the use of our linen, laundry costs and storage to discover where we could make improvements. By making a few changes to our laundry and linen service, Environmental Services has been able to save CHEO $165,000 and counting. This money can then be reinvested into patient care!

It’s a team effort

CHEO’s nurses and doctors work together to improve time management

Nurses and doctors worked together to more clearly define how much monitoring patients need. They created new standard tools that would empower nursing teams to assign care where it was needed. The new system is expected to save 4800 hours of work annually.

Reducing side-effects. Increasing satisfaction.

Nerve blocking analgesia popular with patients and families.

Patients eligible for the Regional Nerve Block Program during surgery are able to return home the same day. This technique blocks the peripheral nerves in the area of the body being operated on. Patients do not lose consciousness and there is no impact on their cardiac and respiratory functions. This also reduces the need for pain management medications that have unpleasant side-effects. As a result, patients have overall better recovery and go home sooner.

Charlie’s Story: “Your health info at our fingertips”

A milestone on our Epic journey

This was a year to celebrate CHEO’s Epic journey towards an electronic health records system and having “all patient information in one place.” CHEO is now using the Epic platform across our outpatient clinics and labs. Physicians are using Epic on a daily basis in CHEO clinics to record and share test results, past visits, prescriptions and each patient’s progress.

Epic means that for patients with complex health problems, their specialists and care team can now all work from the same information. For all patients, Epic means better care, faster access to test results, and avoiding duplication of tests and potential drug errors. CHEO also recently launched MyChart so that CHEO families can see information about their clinic visits, tests and medications through a secure online portal.

CHEO is proud of how far we’ve come, and is now launching Phase II “Core Build” that will bring the benefits of Epic to all inpatient units, pharmacy, oncology, medical imaging and Emergency by fall 2017.

What’s in a gene?
The future of medicine

As a nationally and internationally recognized leader in genetic care and research, CHEO is making great strides.

In a groundbreaking legal precedent, this year CHEO changed the landscape for genetic medicine in Canada when we reached a settlement in a gene patent court challenge. The deal allows all public Canadian hospitals and labs to test for Long QT syndrome (a rare heart disorder), which patents on genes previously prevented. Now that these tests can be done in Canada, families will have better access to the life-saving answers and care they need. And the deal has set a precedent for other genetic and whole genome testing.

Medicine is at an historic turning point, and genetics and genomics are playing an important role. Personalized medicine, or precision medicine, is starting to transform the way we diagnose, prevent and treat disease - and can save lives.

In the area of rare disease, CHEO and its research partners continue to make new life-saving discoveries, meaning families are able to get the answers they need and deserve sooner. And last summer, CHEO’s regional genetics program introduced more comprehensive testing for inherited heart conditions for patients across Ontario.

“Youth lead the fight against mental health stigma”

YouthNet RéseauAdo is a for-youth- by-youth mental health program at CHEO.

Expert care for healthy young minds

We know that children and youth face different challenges now than they did 20 years ago. They are growing up in a society that is “on” 24/7 and are encountering more and more pressures early in life. That is why helping them maintain good mental health is so important.

So, in collaboration with The Royal, we launched the Young Minds Partnership – a 5 year action plan to help more children and youth by reducing wait times, providing the right care at the right time, offering more help to kids and youth while they wait for treatment, improving emergency care and working closely with our community partners.

As a first step, CHEO’s mental health team has adopted the Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA) with the long-term goal of ensuring no referred child will wait more than six weeks for an initial appointment – a major improvement on wait times many families faced.

Impacting lives
beyond our walls

Helping kids and families doesn’t stop inside our walls. CHEO works with partners and communities to help when and where it’s needed.

Last year we launched the Navigator Program for parents and caregivers whose kids have complex medical needs. It brings together a large team of partners to make sure these families get a better chance to function at work, at school and in their everyday lives.

As 2016 began, the idea of connecting CHEO’s care across Eastern Ontario really hit the road. With the help of the Ottawa Paramedic Service, staff from CHEO’s intensive care team for newborns can now come to the rescue in a dedicated neonatal transport ambulance. Their expertise, along with a mobile incubator, saves the lives of critically ill newborns across the region and into Northern Ontario.

The new year also brought a wave of new residents. Child refugees arriving from Syria received the medical care they so badly needed, thanks to community health centres, refugee support agencies, CHEO and other partners. The Refugee 613 committee has helped its members to coordinate and share knowledge on how to care for children who have lived through trauma and have gone without medical attention for months or years.

New discoveries every day

"Uncovering rare diseases"

Did you know...

that over half a million children in Canada are affected by a rare disease, 25% will wait 5 to 30 years for a diagnosis, and about half will never get a diagnosis?

But CHEO leads a nationwide CARE for RARE research program that is fighting for answers and has already discovered over 85 novel rare disease genes and provided over 1000 families with a genetic diagnosis!

Did you know...

that after 15 years of intense investigation at the CHEO Research Institute, using viruses to treat cancer is no longer just a theory?

CHEO researchers have discovered viruses that not only kill cancer cells, but also trigger an anti-cancer immune response. We’re now focused on using virus therapy to fight brain cancer – a disease that strikes 10,000 Canadians each year.

"Fighting cancer with viruses"

Did you know...

CHEO researchers have developed a child and family-friendly guide to identify the signs of severe allergic reactions, developed novel concussion treatment and diagnostic tools, and so much more!

For more information about world-class research happening every day at CHEO:

Visit cheori.org

Check out our “Spotlight on CHEO research” videos:

Watch them on YouTube

2015 / 2016 in numbers

View CHEO's previous annual reports:

2014/15 2013/14

Get social with us!