Strategy map

Our Vision

The best care experiences. Created together.

Strategy Map

Our Mission

Unity Health Toronto is a Catholic health care organization providing compassionate physical, emotional and spiritual care to all in need. We advance excellence in health care through world-class education, research and innovation.

Our Values


Our Mission

Unity Health Toronto is a Catholic health care organization providing compassionate physical, emotional and spiritual care to all in need. We advance excellence in health care through world-class education, research and innovation.

Our Values


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Integrated care for our urban communities

Dr. Anne Wormsbecker with Dixon and Tammy.

Six-year-old Dixon was first referred to the Paediatric School Outreach clinic at Parkdale Public School because of separation anxiety he experienced when leaving his mom. With the help of Dr. Anne Wormsbecker and the team, Dixon’s mom Tammy was able to get him the resources he needed to succeed at school.

"Working with the doctors, we were able to get my son in smaller class sizes to meet his needs. Dr. Anne Wormsbecker gives my son 110% care. She was really great with me too, and helped me find resources in the community for parents.” – Tammy, Dixon’s mom

Unity Health is proud to deliver a comprehensive spectrum of health care across the full breadth of Toronto. With St. Joseph’s in the west, St. Michael’s in the downtown core and Providence in the east, Unity Health’s sites have been an integral part of our city’s communities for generations. Every person who turns to us for care brings with them their personal history, needs and experiences. Every person’s health care journey is different. Over the next five years, we will work closely with our patients and partners to seamlessly integrate each person’s journey across the spectrum of care. Through the use of technology, research and data, we will make sure people receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Be the leader in integrated care for diverse urban communities.
  • Provide integrated care that encompasses enhanced 24/7 access, seamless transitions, innovative options for provider/patient interaction including virtual care, increased patient autonomy and choice in care.
  • Continue to be a trusted and valued partner that collaborates well with all providers in the health system.

Our commitment

  • Work with patients, families and our partners to create a seamless health care journey where each person is able to define their best care experience.
  • Create a Care Experience Institute to advance innovation and collaboration within Unity Health and with health care partners across the province, the country and the world.
  • Use the power of data, information and analytics to help Unity Health and our partners shape a patient care experience that meets each person’s individual circumstances and need.
  • Strengthen existing relationships and create new partnerships to advance excellence in integrated patient and family partnered care.

Success means

  • Our patients and families tell us they are experiencing a seamless care journey, particularly during transitions in care.
  • Our Institute is shaping how health care organizations partner and how they share innovations, research and evidence across the province and around the world.
  • Our care teams and our care delivery partners are using real-time data to plan and make decisions.

 

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Excelling in care for those experiencing disadvantage

Fred Ellerington, homeless outreach counsellor, meets each homeless patient admitted.
The Navigator Program supports patients experiencing homelessness in General Internal Medicine at St. Michael’s. Fred Ellerington, homeless outreach counsellor, meets each homeless patient admitted. After discharge, he helps patients follow their care plans in the community to stay healthy and reduce the likelihood of readmission. Partnerships with community service providers like Margaret’s Toronto East Drop-In Centre/Respite Services, where Leon works, allow us to create better integrated care in our urban communities.

“Margaret’s collaboration with the St. Michael’s Hospital homeless outreach counsellor has been very helpful in providing seamless service to our clients, connecting them to needed supports and services. – Leon, Operational Facilitator, Margaret’s Toronto East Drop-In Centre”

Health starts where people live, work and play. Social and economic factors can have lasting impacts and create stigma for those who need care. For more than 160 years, we have been here for people when they need us most, no matter their circumstances. Over the next five years, we will work with our teams and our partners to make sure everyone can access the care they need with respect and compassion. We are committed to learning from those who have experienced disadvantage and to adapting our care, processes and language to better meet their needs. Health is a basic human right and we will continue to be known as a leader in making care welcoming, effective, safe and accessible to all in our communities.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Have fostered a culture of equity and made measurable and significant strides in transforming the care experience for those experiencing disadvantage in the communities we serve.
  • Be a respected advocate for vulnerable populations, using research to advance policy change that truly transforms the system and impacts the social determinants of health.
  • Be leaders in using evidence to advance practice change in how we care for people experiencing disadvantage.

Our commitment

  • Build a safe, respectful culture for all by educating and empowering our care teams to understand and support vulnerable people experiencing disadvantage.
  • Use our research to reinforce advocacy to advance policy and enable system change that truly improves people’s health and well-being.
  • Use research and evidence to improve how we care for people experiencing disadvantage, including strengthening our partnerships to connect people to the care and supports they need across our services, at home and in their community.

Success means

  • Our patients, residents and families – especially those experiencing social exclusion – are telling us they feel welcome, respected and safe.
  • Our researchers, clinicians and staff are active at government policy tables, in community partnerships and among community groups working to increase health equity.
  • Our care teams are using our research and clinical findings to improve care for people experiencing disadvantage.
 

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Leading in world-class specialty care

Dr. Xavier Montalban speaks with a television news reporter.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is often called Canada’s disease because of its high prevalence across the country. More than one in every 300 Canadians is affected by MS, which is the highest rate in the world. Some of the world’s leading MS clinicians and researchers are part of the Unity Health Toronto team, serving about 7,000 patients in Canada’s largest multiple sclerosis clinic. The new facility is currently under construction – the 30,000 sq. ft. BARLO MS Centre will be a world leading Centre dedicated to multiple sclerosis treatment and research.

"We are providing our patients with the best care possible. Our multidisciplinary team is working with patients and their families to improve quality of life. Care providers are working alongside researchers — allowing us to adjust our care models based on the newest findings.” – Dr. Xavier Montalban, medical director, BARLO MS Centre, one of the world’s most renowned MS neurologists, recruited to St. Michael’s from Spain

Being diagnosed with a disease or chronic condition can be frightening; it can suddenly change a person’s life. At these times, people trust Unity Health to provide the best medical treatments and care available for themselves and for the people they love. As an academic health sciences leader with world-class specialty care programs and teams, Unity Health is at the forefront of treatment for some of the world’s most complex diseases and conditions. Over the next five years, we will work together to create care experiences that support and empower our patients throughout their care journey. Patients will feel confident knowing they are receiving the best – and often first and only – treatment available.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Personalize the delivery of care by providing leading-edge evidence-based care for some of the most complex diseases and also the best care experience which considers the patient’s needs first.
  • Be the regional and national hub for education, training and mentorship for our world-class specialty care programs that will attract globally leading talent into our specialty programs.

Our commitment

  • Work with our patients and families to make sure our leading-edge care is shaped around their individual needs and circumstances.
  • Strengthen our partnerships across Unity Health and the province to improve patient access to specialty care.
  • Continue to be a world leader in our specialty programs by creating and evaluating new and better treatments and creating environments that attract the best and the brightest people in their fields.

Success means

  • Our patients tell us they are choosing Unity Health because of its high quality specialty care and exceptional care experience.
  • Our clinicians and researchers are generating first, best and only innovative approaches to care.
  • Our researchers, clinicians and staff tell us they are choosing to work at Unity Health because of our leading-edge research and clinical talent.
  • Our programs are respected partners of choice for government and industry.

 

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Joy in work for our people

Dr. Katie Mennie stands in a hallway at St. Joseph's Health Centre
"The kids we see are resilient, have so much optimism and a sense of humour and they bring those qualities to their lives in the face of illness or significant challenges. Seeing how they approach problems is really inspiring – I think that’s my favourite part of my job.” – Dr. Katie Mennie (pictured above), paediatrician,
St. Joseph’s Health Centre

"I work with a great team that brings empathy, kindness and humour to the workplace. We are always ready to step up when anyone needs extra help. I have the opportunity to be of service every day, something I value greatly.” – Lorna D’Souza, administrative assistant, Providence Healthcare

"I believe it is important for me as a nurse to provide compassionate and comprehensive care that best suits my patients’ individual needs. I truly value how, with great teamwork and working together, we can achieve more.” – Juliana Chan, registered nurse, St. Michael’s Hospital

People choose to work in health care to make a positive difference in their communities and in the lives of others. Joy in work is about helping make a connection to the meaning and purpose in our work. It is about creating a culture that recognizes each person’s contributions. It exists when we are all ambassadors for what we do. Joy becomes contagious. People who experience joy at work are more resilient and better equipped to support those we serve. Over the next five years, we will continue to build our diverse workplace and make joy in work a shared responsibility. We will foster a culture that empowers our people to realize meaning and purpose in their work. Unity Health will be known for its positive environment and be a sought after place to learn, work and volunteer.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Have created an environment where all of our people can realize meaning and purpose in the work they do every day and where joy in work is reflected in the care provided to our patients.
  • Be a sought after employer known for supporting healthy, productive people and teams.

Our commitment

  • Create a safe, welcoming environment where all of our people can realize meaning and purpose in the work they do every day.
  • Understand what matters most to our people and help address their unique challenges.
  • Make joy in work a shared responsibility at all levels of the organization.
  • Ensure that people are supported to achieve their best and thrive in a health system that is continually evolving.
  • Build internal capacity to translate our discoveries and advance the adoption of research into practice and policy. 

Success means

  • Our people are enthusiastic ambassadors for Unity Health, recommending us to people seeking care, employment, learning and volunteer opportunities.
  • Our people tell us they find meaning in their work.
  • High levels of staff and physician engagement are reflected in industry leading engagement scores.

 

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Impactful research and innovation

Dr. Cynthia Luk in the lab.
Basic science fuels fundamental knowledge about the world. Dr. Cynthia Luk is a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science and an endocrinologist at St. Michael’s Hospital. She studies obesity, diabetes and other related diseases – and is part of a research team that’s focused on finding solutions for these conditions which affect a growing number of Canadians. Dr. Luk’s research findings inform how she works with her patients and, conversely, her patients’ questions help to shape her research. She enjoys being able to blend basic research and patient care.

"We are very lucky to be here where there is a strong history of translational medicine, and where basic science has made a real impact.” – Dr. Cynthia Luk, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science

Great innovations start with curiosity and a question. Research is essential to improving lives and communities. Unity Health Toronto’s research teams relentlessly pursue some of the world’s toughest health care challenges. Their findings regularly improve the lives of people in Toronto and around the globe. From identifying new therapies to combat disease, to the development of artificial intelligence tools to improve health care delivery, Unity Health is a global leader in health research and innovation. Over the next five years, we will create a seamless bridge between research findings and patient care delivery. We will reinforce our culture of curiosity by supporting our researchers through every stage of their career and ensure our work remains at the frontier of quality and innovation.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Have promoted a culture of discovery across our network that serves as a model for research that improves patient care and health care delivery.
  • Lead in the way we partner and engage stakeholders to advance research and innovation locally, nationally and globally.

Our commitment

  • Lead in the generation of knowledge to improve and integrate care.
  • Use evidence and research to encourage and inspire innovation across all of the care we provide.
  • Establish Unity Health as the pre-eminent national leader in understanding and improving urban health.
  • Develop and deploy artificial intelligence tools driven by clinical needs to establish Unity Health Toronto as an academic leader in health care advanced analytics.
  • Build a research environment that is equitable, diverse and inclusive and where our researchers are supported along their career trajectory.

Success means

  • Our researchers have achieved high profile impact by publishing in top journals and contributing to the body of knowledge in their fields.
  • Our researchers have attracted competitive funding to support their programs.
  • Our knowledge is translated into practice and policy.
  • Our research leads to documented improvements in patient clinical outcomes, improved efficiency and/ or reductions in costs at Unity Health Toronto.
  • Our rank is elevated among Canadian health sciences research centres.

 

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Reimagining teaching and learning

Muir and Daniel Gold-Bersani participate in a simulation exercise in the Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre.
The Simulation Centre provides education and research opportunities to more than 6,000 participants each year, welcoming a wide range of students, health care professionals and administrators to improve the safety and effectiveness of our services. Pictured here is Tine Muir (left) a respiratory therapist at
St. Michael’s with Daniel Gold-Bersani from Peel Paramedics, in a simulation exercise.

"From participating in a major trauma exercise to practicing basic communication skills, the Simulation Program provides opportunities to prepare for critical and high-pressure situations before they happen — and that can make all the difference.” – Nazanin Khodadoust, manager, Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre

As an academic health sciences organization, education is woven into every aspect of how we work and learn together. Unity Health knows that rigorous, ongoing professional development is an essential part of providing the best care to patients. We value collaborative learning and instill this by teaching our current and future health care teams together. Over the next five years, we will be leaders in integrated health education, driving system change. We will learn from our patients and their families by including them in our teaching teams. We will be renowned as a teaching organization where people thrive, grow and achieve performance excellence.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Drive system transformation by leading in integrated health systems education for everyone.
  • Recognize patients, residents and families as teachers and learners within our teams.
  • Be known as a learning organization where our teams thrive, grow and achieve performance excellence.

Our commitment

  • Embody a dynamic, safe, lifelong teaching and learning culture that embraces critical reflection to drive excellence, quality and equity.
  • Create and deliver real-time teaching using technology, simulation, performance data and artificial intelligence.

Success means

  • Our learners will recognize us as their teaching hospital of choice.
  • Our impact from learner engagement and education has a positive effect on patient outcomes.
  • Our education resources are developed through co-design and partnership with our learners, our patients and their families and our partner colleges and universities.
  • Our people have opportunities for personal development, based in shared values, curiosity and practices of safety, equity, flexibility and teamwork.
  • Our partnerships incubate innovative learning technology that advances knowledge and performance.

 

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Achieving quality together

Leah Xing poses in a hallway at St. Joseph's Health Centre.
Leah Xing was a dialysis patient at St. Joseph’s for nine years until she received a new kidney at
St. Michael’s on May 31, 2016. Today, Leah continues to receive kidney treatment at
St. Joseph’s. She’s also an active Patient and Family Advisor. Patient and Family Advisors are an integral part of Unity Health Toronto’s care teams. They provide valuable first-hand insight into the patient experience, helping shape policy and organizational decisions.

"I know what it’s like to be a patient—I’ve been one for twelve years. I come from a complicated health situation. It’s only through my blood work that you can tell I have health issues. It’s so important to bring the patient voice to health care decisions. As a Patient and Family Advisor, I contribute directly to building and improving patient centered care.” – Leah Xing, Patient and Family Advisor

Delivering an exceptional care experience is the promise we make to our patients and those that care for them every day. We believe that everyone has the right to safe, high quality care. To get there, we need a relentless focus on all the dimensions of quality, which include care that is: effective, safe, timely, patient and family partnered, efficient, equitable, integrated and supportive of provider wellness.

Over the next five years, Unity Health, in partnership with our patients and their families, will design new systems and pathways of care that make navigating our health care system easier. We will build a culture of safety through systems that are reliable, ensuring care is safe. We will pursue a culture of continuous improvement, always seeking to find opportunities to learn and change and grow. Propelling our quality work will be our advanced analytics infrastructure that will uncover new insights in care and treatments, design predictive capabilities and build intuitive surveillance for safer care and improved outcomes. All of this will only be possible through genuine partnerships with our patients, their families and our community.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Achieve excellence in all dimensions of quality.
  • Be recognized as a health care organization with an unwavering commitment to safety for patients, families, staff and physicians with outcomes that prove it.
  • Deliver care delivery models that actively engage the patient in enabling their health through all phases of life.
  • Be known as a global leader in developing innovative approaches to partnered care.

Our commitment

  • Embed the voice of our patients and families in all aspects of our organization.
  • Build a culture of resilience, reliable systems and holistic thinking about safety.
  • Bring continuous improvement in all that we do, advancing all dimensions of quality.
  • Use advanced analytics, including machine learning and simulation as well as other digital tools to create improvement breakthroughs and track real-time performance.

Success means

  • Our outcomes across all dimensions of quality continue to improve.
  • Our patients, families and communities are true partners in decision making, from individual care decisions to large-scale organizational choices. Our engagement survey results, our accreditation standing and our designation as a leader in patient and family partnered care reflect that commitment.
  • Our focus on safety is not only within the walls of the network but throughout the care journey for our patients – and it has reduced preventable harm.
  • Our approach to continuous improvement is part of our culture pushing us to do better in all that we do.
  • We use predictive analytics to support better care and ultimately better outcomes.

 

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Revolutionizing care through digital transformation

Gwen Merrick interacts with patient Amber Risk via computer using videoconferencing technology known as telemedicine.
Gwen Merrick, St. Michael’s Voice Clinic speech language pathologist, is seeing patient Amber Risk for a Voice Clinic appointment via telepractice. This real-time videoconferencing technology was developed to reach a greater number of patients who cannot attend the Voice Clinic in person, while also addressing equity and access issues.

"Without telepractice, I wouldn’t have access to this therapy. None of the speech language pathologists in my city specialize in trans care. I would have to travel to Toronto for every appointment.” – Amber Risk, speech language patient from North Bay

Imagine the convenience of connecting with your doctor from your own home and sharing health information from your smart device as part of that conversation. Now imagine your doctor having real-time access to evidence on how to best care for you – that is the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Through computer-enabled learning, we can use patterns of evidence and machine problem solving to take patients’ personalized information and couple that with the best evidence to improve their outcomes. Predictive models can be used to identify patients at risk, what outcomes may be expected and how to improve their care.

We will harness the power of information and advanced digital solutions to positively impact quality care, experience and operational excellence. Together with our patients, we will co-design technology solutions which focus on patient convenience and a more personalized experience. We will connect care using smart technologies to create a seamless health care journey for everyone in our care. And we will lead in the use of advanced analytics and AI to ensure evidence guides our decisions.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Have a network-wide electronic patient record.
  • Have co-developed solutions to enhance access, quality and experience for our patients and providers.
  • Be a real-time health system, actively using data to inform clinical and management decisions.
  • Use digital tools to support our workforce, internal planning and to integrate to the broader health system.
  • Be known as a leading organization that demonstrates how data and digital can revolutionize the quality and experience of care, education and research through deep integration of analytics with operations.

Our commitment

  • Plan and implement a network-wide electronic patient record that supports multiple care environments ranging from home, to hospital and community.
  • Connect care to enable our patients and their families to engage with Unity Health in multiple ways, including enhanced traditional and virtual care approaches.
  • Develop an operations centre to monitor patient status, results, flow and capacity – optimizing our investments in analytics to improve outcomes, safety and access for our patients.
  • Improve our analytical capacity to optimize operational decision making and clinical processes, while reducing the digital burden on our providers through the co-creation of modern intuitive tools.

Success means

  • Our real-time system elevates operational excellence and advanced decision making.
  • Our patients have digitally-enabled access to comprehensive care and their personal health information – resulting in provable improvements to their care experience.
  • Our network and communities share information seamlessly to ensure the best care experience for those we serve.
  • Our adoption of digital tools, including our electronic patient record and advanced analytics, achieves the highest level of industry recognition.

 

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Investing in our future

Nahid Alam and Adrian William in the central supply room at Providence Healthcare.
"I’m so proud of our team. We’re always looking for opportunities to save. By being careful with our spending, we’re helping to make sure our volunteers and staff members have the tools they need to succeed and that our patients have the best care experience during every step of their care journey.” – Adrian William, interim manager of supply chain, Providence Healthcare

William is photographed here with his colleague Nahid Alam, environmental services coordinator, in the Central Supply Room at Providence.

Being good stewards of public resources is a hallmark left to us by our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Coming together as Unity Health allows us to be more efficient in our work and to create opportunities for collaboration across our sites. Over the next five years, we will continue to make thoughtful and prudent choices that maximize existing funding, support excellent patient care and drive our strategic plan. We will empower our teams to develop innovative ways of creating organizational value. We will work together with our Foundations to create innovative and inspirational solutions to improve patient care. We will be respected for our environmental stewardship. And we will be known as a leader in shaping new integrated funding and care models that maximize public resources – all in a time of transformative change in Ontario.

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In five years, Unity Health Toronto will:

  • Build a nimble culture that makes decisions through a value lens.
  • Be stewards of the environment by reducing the impact we make on the planet.
  • Be a leader in shaping new funding and care models as well as maximize existing funding envelopes.

Our commitment

  • Lead and be responsive to system transformation through an open and transparent partnership model that recognizes we are striving to be the partner of choice for stakeholders across the health system and industry.
  • Develop strategic partnerships in a variety of sectors (e.g. analytics, tech companies, academic institutions) to find new and better solutions for health care delivery.
  • Drive performance excellence by improving financial fluency and business acumen across the network.
  • Create a multi-year investment strategy to drive business development and revenue generation.
  • Partner with our Foundations to identify urgent and compelling strategic priorities for donor investment.
  • Invest in our capital infrastructure and digital technology while delivering capital projects on time and on budget.

Success means

  • Our partnerships are strategic and successful.
  • We will evolve the cost structure of our network to be in the top quartile in the province.
  • We will identify visionary, ground-breaking and innovative projects that attract philanthropic investment.
  • We will be recognized for our work in environmental stewardship.

 

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