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Saskatoon Celebrates Better Care, Better Patient Outcomes with First Accountable Care Unit

Released on June 23, 2017

Saskatoon patients now have access to an innovative, patient-centred model of care at St. Paul’s Hospital.  Heath Minister Jim Reiter today joined Saskatoon Health Region officials, board members and staff to celebrate the opening of Saskatoon’s first Accountable Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital on 7th floor Medicine.

“We are incredibly proud of this innovation in health care delivery, and encouraged to see best-practices being shared across the system,” Reiter said.  “This team-based model of in-patient care has already shown tremendous results in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, and we look forward to continue seeing that success in Saskatoon.”

The Accountable Care Unit model was first trialed in Regina's Pasqua Hospital with significant success and has now been expanded to Saskatoon.  This approach is redesigning how hospital teams work and communicate, ensuring patients and their families are full partners in the care process.  Through the pilot, this model has proven to greatly reduce the length of stay in hospital for patients and reduce rates of readmission.

“At just two and a half months into the first transition to the Accountable Care model, we are hearing very positive things from our patients, families and staff and seeing a significant decreased length of stay for patients,” Saskatoon Regional Health Authority Board Chair Mike Stensrud said.  “The Accountable Care teams both in hospital and in community continue to build on our strengths, enhance our services, and help to create seamless, connected care for patients in the right place at the right time.”

Accountable care units have four features that differ from traditional care units.  They are:
  • Teams of physicians, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, dietitians, and social workers physically located together on the unit;
  • Standardized interdisciplinary bedside rounds, where members of the care team meet at the same time, every day, together with the patients;
  • Unit level performance reporting (measuring patient outcomes at unit level rather than hospital or system level leading to improved responses and care); and
  • Unit level nurse and physician co-leadership (on traditional units physicians are not included in unit management).
“We are already seeing how physically locating these physicians in one place and the subsequent regular interactions through standardized rounding, is improving teamwork and communication among our care provider partners,” Saskatoon Health Region Senior Medical Officer, Vice President Practitioner Staff Affairs Dr. George Pylypchuk said.  “The Accountable Care Unit makes patient interactions more meaningful and predictable, which is decreasing patient length of stay by eliminating barriers to discharge.”

The expansion of the Accountable Care model is part of the larger provincial Connected Care Strategy to improve emergency wait times and patient flow, and strengthen team-based care in hospital and the community.  It was made possible through $12 million in provincial funding announced in the 2017-18 budget.

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For more information, contact:

Shirley Xie 
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: Shirley.xie@health.gov.sk.ca

Amanda Purcell
Saskatoon Health Region
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-655-3476
Email: communications@saskatoonhealthregion.ca

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