Four ways UHN is revolutionizing health care

Four ways UHN is revolutionizing health care

The country’s number one hospital is right here in our city—and it’s taking medicine to the next level

Dawnna Joy Calama-An, a nurse at UHN's Toronto Rehab, gets on the same level as her patient in the stroke unit.

From vibrant and eclectic restaurants to a park system that represents more than 10 per cent of city-owned land, there are lots of reasons to love living in Toronto. Another big one: access to state-of-the-art technology and research that’s transforming health care—for the benefit of Torontonians and patients worldwide.

Canada’s largest teaching and research hospital, University Health Network (UHN) encompasses four health care centres and one training institute in the heart of downtown. And from new approaches to collaborative care to pioneering AI techniques, UHN is leading the charge to transform patient experiences and outcomes. Here are four ways UHN is redefining the future of health care.

A commitment to breaking new ground

With six research institutes and four collaborative centres, UHN’s 5,000-plus research staff are committed to improving health care on all fronts, from neurological disorders to cancer and cardiology to physical rehabilitation and mobility.

“Research is the tool that will enable development of new solutions for unmet patient needs and allow us and the world to improve care,” says Dr. Brad Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at UHN.

“Our commitment to research spans the entire health continuum: we have expertise in understanding how molecules and cells interact and how tissues and organs function within the body, designing and validating new therapies to treat disease, creating new devices or approaches to improve access and the impact of effective therapies today—and much more.”

Leading the way with AI

Across industries, AI is changing the parameters of what’s possible, and health care is no exception. With Canada’s first chief AI scientist helming its exploration, as well as an AI hub dedicated to developing and safely implementing AI applications, UHN is leading the way.

Says Wouters, “UHN is fortunate to be in one of the most diverse cities in the world, creating a unique and rich data resource. We recently announced a formal partnership with the Mayo Clinic’s Platform Connect data network, which will enable our researchers to learn from data with other leading international health care centres around the world in a strictly controlled and privacy-protected manner.”

Knocking down barriers to health care access

All the innovations and advances in the world can’t move the dial for patients if care is challenging to access. That’s why UHN is also focused on giving patients and their caregivers better tools to manage their health care journeys.

“One example—of many—is the Medly program,” says Dr. Kathryn Tinckam, UHN’s physician-in-chief. “Developed by UHN physicians, scientists and biomedical engineers, it empowers patients and their care teams to manage and monitor symptoms of heart failure without having to come to the hospital.”

While that ability to better manage care at home is important for everyone, the program paves the way to better access for those throughout Ontario facing health care barriers. In six regions in the northern James Bay and Hudson Bay areas, health authorities are now using Medly to deliver ongoing cardiac diagnostics and treatment to Indigenous communities.

A focus on sustainability

It’s no secret that the Canadian health care system is being stretched in unprecedented ways. And in the coming years, addressing the needs of our aging population threatens to further compound current strains.

UHN is focused on solving both current and future challenges.

“The investments we are making now in research will benefit all in the years to come,” says Wouters. “We are faced with the growing financial cost of delivering health care effectively to all Canadians. Our research looks for breakthrough technologies and solutions that can change not only the effectiveness of the care we provide, but do so in a way that can be delivered affordably and with access to all.”

UHN’s ability to lead health care transformation is made possible by its team, with plenty of community support. To help UHN continue to bring world-class care to Canada, visit