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Why I’m so happy about accomplishing “nothing”

Usually, when someone asks you to scale something from zero to 10, the higher the number, the greater the level of satisfaction.

However, last week our CIUSSS achieved something so truly outstanding that we got a zero—and I’m thrilled!

On May 15, we launched a week-long pilot project entitled “Zero Emergency Department (ED) patients over 24 hours”, the culmination of almost a year of planning. The mission that we embarked on was to ensure that no patient stayed in the JGH Emergency Department for more than 24 hours. Patients were either admitted to the hospital, or seen and discharged.

The behind-the-scenes efforts—from planning (which included bi-monthly meetings) to measures that were implemented early last week—were nothing short of monumental. Our group, comprised of members from SAPA, Rehabilitation, Mental Health, Nursing, Professional Services, the medical chiefs and multidisciplinary staff, worked together to prepare a plan that not only enabled us to meet our target for ED patients, but created a positive ripple effect throughout our healthcare network.

I’m not saying that this was accomplished without significant obstacles, or that some around the table didn’t, at some point, question my grasp of “reality”. But after two weeks, even the naysayers had to admit it: the project was a success. Not perfect yet, but a magical improvement indeed!

Now the goal is to determine how to make this happen on a regular basis, as opposed to limiting it to just a couple of weeks. We have a phenomenal team of professionals tackling this challenge, and I’m confident that before we know it, zero will be our new normal.


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