Earlier this month, the Scarborough Hospital received a familiar face to fill the position of chief of staff.
According to Dr. Thomas Chan, his 17 years of experience as an emergency physician thoroughly prepared him for the promotion within the hospital. Even with the new corporate responsibilities, Chan is confident about the position, despite having started only two weeks ago.
“It feels the same as yesterday,” Chan said. “I was chief of the emergency department for eight years so I was well exposed to the leadership requirements in the hospital.”
His role has changed, however, moving away from operative responsibilities and further toward strategic corporate tasks for the hospital overall. Yet Chan said he found the transition smooth due to a long-standing relationship with his colleagues.
“I’ve been very fortunate. The staff have been very welcoming,” Chan said. “I was a little bit concerned about being a candidate from the inside because sometimes you don’t know how you are going to be received.”
Chan believes there have been definite improvements in hospital care in Ontario. The Scarborough Hospital specifically over the last five years has been among the best of hospitals across the GTA for their Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR). The HSMR calculates the ratio of the actual number of deaths to the expected number of deaths among hospital patients.
Chan is proud to say the hospital on several measures has exceeded the national average but that he still seeks further improvement.
What I would like to do is to improve access to all sub-specialty care within this hospital and improve the experience of the patient when they access health care.
— Dr. Thomas Chan
Accessibility is a primary goal he hopes to instil on his staff — to make not only the patients comfortable but their families as well. Chan maintains that the focus will be on patient care regardless of the funding issues or obstacles that Ontario health care is currently facing.
“The Ontario government is pretty tight for cash so there’s a little bit less coming to health care,” Chan said. “We’ll have to make do or restructure around that to deliver the same quality of health care. That’s a difficult task.”
When he’s not paving the way for the hospital, he can be found out on the pavement serving as the associate medical director of the Honda Indy Toronto where he handles motor sport safety.