Listening to those who make health care happen

patient and staff

A message from Dr. Joshua Tepper, President and CEO

In health care we often talk about the latest in technology, "breakthrough" drugs and building large new facilities. But at the end of the day, health care delivery is about people.

It’s the caring touch, the curious mind and the collaborative spirit that are at the core of health care. We quickly remember the excellence of dozens of different front line health care professionals  but no one experiences our health system without also being impacted by the work of administrators, environmental services teams, information technology experts, food services staff, engineers, architects, volunteers, learners and family caregivers  the list goes on.  At North York General Hospital alone we can easily count 4,000 people involved in our care delivery and that is a marked underestimation.

Missing media item.

As we work to improve our health care system we can look at many things but a critical learning opportunity is listening to the people who work in the system. At the beginning of this year, as we do every year, we sent out our employee and physician engagement survey to help us gauge the overall "health" of our organization and to help us identify areas that need improvement.

We take this survey very seriously because a high level of staff engagement is a key indicator of our success in caring for our community. A study published in Longwoods showed that “a high level of employee engagement is related to better patient-centred care and safety."

Our results

Our engagement survey results are in and we are proud of the results.

We celebrate the highest staff participation rate since 2014 –  53.6% and that is above the provincial average of 50.7%. Having this high level of participation in the survey gives us more confidence in the accuracy of the results.

Our overall staff employee engagement score increased to 79.5% from 77.9% last year. This is despite a past year that has seen many challenges, including construction in our buildings, significant change in the health care system around us and a very high demand for our services. We are well over the community hospital average engagement score of 66.7%.

We had 96.2% of physicians who took the survey indicate they had a positive rating for the hospital being a place to practise medicine. This provincial physician community average is 76.5%.

More than 65% of employees indicate they trust the organization. This has continued to rise over the last three surveys and can be compared to the provincial community average of 50.6%.  I focus on this survey result because trust and engagement go hand-in-hand. We are also in a rapidly changing environment that is requiring us to work differently. Change can’t happen well without trust.

Continue improving and sharing

These are just some of the positive results in the survey.  However, we always want to raise the bar and we know there are things we can do better, this includes increased promotion of health and wellness, continuing to demonstrate that the organization values employee and physician work and opportunities for people to make even more improvements in work. We will be working across the hospital to address feedback and findings that highlight where we can improve. The findings of this survey and other feedback tools will also help shape our new strategy which we will launch next spring.

However, we don’t want to wait until next year to hear what is working well and where we can improve. You can always reach me at

This article first appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Pulse. Subscribe now. 

Share this article