Past winners: Leadership


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Leading the Way: Revolutionizing Pain Management and Opioid Stewardship with a Novel Mobile App 

Dr. Karen Ng
Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services - Fraser Health Surrey, British Columbia 



Background: Pain is a major clinical, social and economic problem in Canada. Effective knowledge translation is crucial to empowering frontline healthcare providers with evidence-based information to optimize patient care. 

Objective(s): To develop a pain and opioid stewardship mobile application as an accessible, practical and enduring resource for providers to effectively share evidence-based knowledge.  

Methods: We collaborated with Firstline, a Canadian health technology company, to develop a comprehensive pain and opioid stewardship mobile app. By presenting a compelling business case to the Fraser Health Overdose Response and Vulnerable Populations Committee, we secured funding for the project via a subscription to the mobile application platform. To engage and secure commitment from clinical experts, we successfully applied for Medical Staff Association Facility Engagement funding at Royal Columbian and Surrey Memorial Hospitals. We reviewed available guidelines and evidence to succinctly summarize practical content for the app, and supervised pharmacy learners to assist. We gathered a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists from various specialties to review drafted content and achieve consensus where guidelines differed or were outdated. An existing multidisciplinary committee co-chaired by the opioid stewardship pharmacists – the Opioid Stewardship Advisory Committee, reviewed content and layout for final approval.  

Results: In May 2023, we launched the novel, open-access mobile app customized to deliver opioid stewardship-focused pain management guidance and decision-support tools. Via a series of grand rounds, onsite and online education sessions, newsletters, email notifications and presentations at local conferences, we widely promoted the app to clinicians across our health authority. Modifications to the app content have been made based on feedback from users, and the app is updated on an ongoing basis.  

Conclusions: From the rapid uptake and overwhelming positive feedback from users, this app has the potential of being utilized by other health care organizations across our province and Canada.  

Eco-Friendly Pharmacy Practices to Support a Sustainable Green Transition in Hospital Pharmacy

Ariane Blanc and Nisha Varughese Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and  
MBA Purple Consulting Team, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa 
Ottawa, Ontario

Background: The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) launched its “Kick the Carbon” strategy in 2021, aiming at reducing Green House Gases by 30% by 2025.  

Objectives: In 2021, CHEO pharmacy collaborated with the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management Consulting team to develop its own eco-initiative plan aligned with CHEO’s eco-responsible strategy.  

Methods: The project included internal and external survey methods conducted in spring 2022. The former focused on operations of CHEO’s pharmacy including interviews of interdisciplinary stakeholders and a sustainability engagement survey. The latter employed a literature search, an external key stakeholders’ interviews and an Ontario hospital pharmacy survey on eco-initiatives. Data analysis used various management tools such as Input/Output Workflow, SWOT, Force Field Analysis.  

Results: The internal survey showed the main barriers to implementing green practices in hospital pharmacy were cost, complexity, and time, and that the three largest areas of waste were single use plastic, lack of awareness of green practices, and lights left on. The external survey showed that 94% of respondents had implemented fewer than 3 green practices in their workplace, with 64% implemented >2 years ago. Twenty-eight percent indicated these initiatives saved money, 26% had considered implementing eco-practices, and for 30% unevaluated programs was the main challenge. Seven pillars were identified as key for sustainability with implementing at least 3 for “green labelling”.  

Conclusion: This interdisciplinary project highlights the need to further describe the Canadian hospital pharmacy landscape of eco-practices and to assess barriers and metrics for carbon footprint reduction. As such, our CHEO pharmacy team will conduct a REB approved National survey in winter 2023 to identify and evaluate hospital pharmacy past, current and future eco-initiatives, to assess knowledge and interest in this field, to develop a roadmap and to raise awareness for a better green transition of Canadian Hospital Pharmacies.  

"Pharmacist Integration into the Hemophilia Treatment Centre: A Canadian Pilot Project to Optimize Treatment and Improve Cost-Savings Using Pharmacokinetic Assessments of Hemophilia Patients"

Nisha Varughese, Régis Vaillancourt, Sylvain Grenier, and Sarah Jennings
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Canadian Blood Services
Ottawa, Ontario

Background: Hospital pharmacists have traditionally not been involved with hospital blood banks or hemophilia clinics. However, coagulation factors used in the treatment of hemophilia follow complicated pharmacokinetic (pK) trajectories with tremendous inter-individual variation, and the optimal use of these products involves systematically assessing and interpreting the pK profiles of all patients. This makes hemophilia care an ideal therapeutic area for pharmacist involvement.

Objectives: Canadian Blood Services manages a national formulary of about 50 plasma protein and related products (PPRP) on behalf of provincial and territorial governments (excluding Quebec). As formulary manager, they recognized an opportunity for substantial savings without compromising patient care by individualizing doses and regimens and switching to lower cost products when clinically appropriate.

Method: Canadian Blood Services partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) on an innovative project integrating a pharmacist into the Hemophilia Treatment Centre (HTC). The pharmacist attended clinics, educated staff and patients, developed policies, and conducted pK evaluations.

Results: In less than one year, pharmacist interventions reduced annual treatment costs for 15 patients by $355,000. In a preliminary analysis, 1 patient had no change in bleeding events and 14 patients had fewer bleeds.

Conclusions: The results of this innovative project show promise for a new practice area for pharmacists.

Leadership during a crisis

Douglas Doucette
Horizon Health Network, New Brunswick 

: Leadership during a crisis requires looking out for the needs of others. Leaders need to act decisively while considering input from followers, stakeholders and clients/patients. A disaster or pandemic plan can help guide the preparation, initial response and recovery phases however leaders also need flexibility to adjust to rapidly changing conditions and to be open to opportunities when others will see barriers.  

Objective(s) : To describe strategies and tactics used to manage a regional multi-site pharmacy service in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Methods Various approaches were used during the pandemic of which several will be described as successes and lessons learned in leading teams with communication, visioning, setting expectations for staff, attending to relationships and maintaining positive staff morale.  

Results : Examples to be shared of leveraging communications to build trust and inspire staff, pivoting staff to ensure redundancy in priority roles, managing inventory of essential medications and COVID vaccines, and building new bridges with other internal departments and external partners.  

Conclusions Effective leadership in a crisis demands the leader communicate clearly, concisely and with purpose. Varied methods are often needed to keep staff informed and inspired, to maintain trust and focus on delivering essential services even when conditions may be changing and beyond one’s control.

Development of a patient-centered video series to improve outcomes for kidney and lung transplant patients

Holly Mansell and Nicola Rosaasen

Saskatchewan Transplant Program, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Saskatoon, SK


Background: Inadequate patient knowledge contributes to poor patient outcomes after transplantation. Kidney and lung transplant patients have indicated that the transplant process is confusing, and they want more education.

Objectives: 1) Conduct a needs assessment to determine optimal format and content, 2) develop a patient-centered educational intervention for kidney patients, 3) test the intervention’s effectiveness, 4) develop a similar resource for lung transplant patients.

Methods: Three studies were undertaken providing qualitative and quantitative feedback from patients on the kidney waitlist, kidney transplant recipients, and health care providers working in transplantation. A video series was created for kidney patients by engaging patient-stakeholders, experts in medication adherence, video education, motivational psychology, and cultural education. Two randomized-controlled trials were designed to test the videos delivered electronically in pre- and post-transplant cohorts. Consultations with patients and caregivers from the lung association informed the content for lung transplant videos.

Results: ‘Solid Organ Transplantation: An Educational Mini-Series for Patients’ is a 6-part video series outlining the kidney transplant process in its entirety. The videos range between 3 and 24 minutes in length, are patient friendly in design, and incorporate animations to explain complex information to accommodate individuals with low health literacy. Patient testimonials align the content with principles of the adult learning theory. A similarly designed but newly scripted version of the series is intended for the lung transplant audience. Two multicenter, parallel arm, randomized controlled trials are currently being conducted to test the kidney videos (delivered electronically) in pre- and post-transplant cohorts, with collaborators from Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax and Chicago.

Conclusion: These studies aim to determine whether electronic education can improve transplant knowledge, patient satisfaction and other patient outcomes (e.g. medication adherence). If proven beneficial, these interventions can be easily implemented and provide consistent, repeatable patient education at low cost, with little impact to existing health care personnel.

Award recipients

2024  Karen Ng
Ariane Blanc and Nisha Varughese
2022 Nisha Varughese, Régis Vaillancourt, Sylvain Grenier, and Sarah Jennings
2021 Douglas Doucette
2020 Holly Mansell and Nicola Rosaasen