OverviewProviding the North with equal access to care
Ottawa-Baffin Nunavut Health Services (OBNHS) is a not-for-profit organization that coordinates specialist and tertiary health care for residents of the Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) Region of Nunavut referred to Ottawa for treatment. Utilizing a broad network of healthcare providers, OBNHS offers nursing case management, appointment scheduling and interpretation services, while also coordinating specialized medical clinics in Iqaluit. OBNHS’s goal is to continue to offer the region equal access to health care, while providing a seamless experience for patients from arrival for diagnosis to their return home.
Launched over 20 years ago (1997), OBNHS is a well-established organization that collaborates with health and social services in both Nunavut and Ottawa to augment medical services provided in the Qikiqtaaluk Region.
Mission, Vision & Values20 years of success
Coordinating Access to Specialized Health Services for the people of Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut.
To coordinate access to specialized health services for the people of Qikiqtani
We make access to specialized health services easy for the people of Qikiqtani
Effective stewardship of government funding
Foster effective positive relationships with patients, providers and government
Accountable through dedication to quality and continuous improvement
Organization ChartHow we work
The diagram below shows the organizational structure of OBNHS.
President’s Message“A Year of Growth and Change”
Heather Sherrard, BScN, MHA
Board of Directors
A year of growth and change
Over the course of 2016–17, OHSNI made a number of changes to better position itself to address the growing numbers of Nunavut patients and their care needs. Whether patients are cared for in Nunavut, through the 58 specialty clinics we set up in Iqaluit and some smaller communities, or in one of Ottawa’s hospitals, OHSNI needs to remain agile enough to meet the needs of our patient population. We are also aware of the need to keep costs as low as possible, while ensuring patients get the car they need.
To this end, in 2016–17 we added one full-time equivalent to our staff complement, and realigned staff to better support our evolving patient profile. A visit from Nunavut’s Minister of Health and government staff enabled us to show, first hand, the scope and complexity of our work in support of Nunavut’s population.
We also continued to work with staff and physicians in Nunavut to ensure patients receive the care they need once they are in their home communities. To support care in community, we furthered our work to ensure that medical records are timely and available to patients discharged from Ottawa and returning to their home communities.
Resourcing specialty clinics in Nunavut to reduce wait lists
A key goal heading in to 2016–17 was to take some significant steps to reduce the need for Nunavut patients to travel outside their home territory for health care—both for the benefit of patients, and to reduce travel costs. I am proud of the major progress our team has made on this front, in collaboration with our colleagues in the North. For example, a review of the wait lists for specialty clinics, lead to a proposal for additional staff: we received approval to add over 15 more physicians, residents and technical staff to the North to increase the capacity of our specialty clinics with wait lists.
Checking the pulse of our organization: the results are good!
OHSNI periodically asks staff to complete a survey on a number of issues related to the quality of our workplace, job satisfaction and other work-related issues. Our most recent survey, conducted in the fall of 2016, confirms that OHSNI is a place of respect, fairness and honesty. It is also a workplace of choice for most employees, with 76% agreeing that “it would take a lot to get me to leave the organization.” Staff are almost unanimous in their belief that patients come first at OHSNI, with 95% agreeing that this value is acted on. Employees feel recognized: 90% agree that their director recognizes their efforts and results. OHSNI’s teamwork and collaborative approach is valued by employees: with many citing great teamwork as one thing they are most proud of.
The survey results also pointed to areas that need change. Among these is the need to improve the public’s understanding of who we are and what we do: staff perceive that their work and their impact is not well understood, including by those in Nunavut, and even by some of the specialty clinics in Ottawa that OHSNI patients visit. We are on it! I encourage you to read the profile “OHSNI services, deconstructed,” featured in this annual report.
Thanks and gratitude
I thank Judy Plourde our Executive Director, for her hard work and dedication to OHSNI in her first full year in this position. Many of the positive results of our staff survey point Judy’s efforts to enable, empower and support each and every staff member. Judy has also been instrumental in making the growth and internal transitions as seamless and smooth as possible. I look forward to another excellent year of collaboration with Judy at the helm.
I am truly grateful for the ongoing commitment and work of my fellow Board of Directors members, for their expertise and guidance as we successfully navigated a year of growth and change.
I offer a huge thank you to our partners, including the over 50 physicians and technical staff who travel to Nunavut to deliver specialty clinics, to the specialists in Ottawa with whom we work, and to our other partners who help us deliver excellent care to Nunavut patients.
A look ahead
Over the next few years will remain focused on providing excellent care, while minimizing the costs to patients and to the health care system. This means reducing travel—hard on patients and their families, and hard on the Nunavut budget. We will continue to find innovative ways to support tele-health in the communities we serve, and to enable better follow-up care in small communities across Baffin Region.