Strategic Priorities

Leveraging Technology

Select one of the Strategic Priorities below to learn more.


Strategic Goal: Fully utilize the digital health technologies of clinical documentation and the patient portal to support better care and services for patients, residents and family caregivers and strengthen the pathways for adoption of innovative and integrated technologies to support caring for the whole person.

What We Heard from Stakeholders

With new advances in technology, especially in the field of health care, participants in the strategic planning engagement sessions felt strongly about St. Joseph’s focusing on technology as a strategic priority. We heard about the need for St. Joseph’s to fully leverage the foundational technologies now underway (e.g., clinical documentation) to enable better care and advanced analytics for the future.

We heard from participants that we could strengthen the connected system by working with regional partners on patient engagement through the patient portal and using local and provincial technology assets for virtual care, regional capacity building, partnering and education. In order to accomplish this, participants suggested that we grow the capabilities of staff and physicians and structures for measurement-based care, and strengthen pathways for evaluation and adoption of innovative care technologies (e.g., virtual care, e-referrals, imaging and surgical technologies etc.). To support the currency, education and adoption of these foundational and innovative technologies, participants advised that we develop a sustainability strategy.

What we will
accomplish By 2021
  • We will transform our care processes for patients, residents and family caregivers through the implementation of the electronic health record to improve the quality and safety of our health services.
  • We will have implemented a patient portal pilot in the Breast Care Centre and developed a plan for further patient and resident access to their health information electronically.
  • Through the innovation strategy, we will strengthen pathways for evaluation and adoption of innovative care technologies.

Transformative surgery saves breasts, improves survivorship

Stephanie Wilds was 45 when diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in both breasts. In the past, she would have endured a double mastectomy. Instead surgical oncologist Dr. Muriel Brackstone was able to remove the cancer, and save her breasts.

“When I was diagnosed I didn’t have hope that I would be here in five years,” says the mom of two young girls. “I was blown away when I learned that I didn’t have to lose my breasts and that I would be around a lot longer than five years.”

Dr. Brackstone, Medical Director of St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program, is leading a shift across Canada to new breast surgery techniques that are dramatically changing the outcome and quality of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

About 80 per cent of women with breast cancer undergo a lumpectomy - surgery in which only the tumor and some surrounding tissue is removed. While much less drastic than a mastectomy, a large lumpectomy often leaves women with a significantly distorted breast.

“What’s exciting is we can now perform surgery in a way that can not only reduce the risk of the cancer returning but also drastically improves the cosmetic outcome,” says Dr. Brackstone.

Oncoplastic surgery, combines the latest plastic surgery techniques with breast surgical oncology. When a large lumpectomy is required, the remaining tissue is sculpted and molded to restore natural appearance. It also includes a breast lift and reduction. The opposite breast may also be modified to create symmetry. As co-founder of Canada’s first hands-on oncoplastic surgery course, Dr. Brackstone is teaching the technique to practicing surgeons across the country.

While Stephanie lost about half of each breast, she is thrilled with the reduction and reshaping of her breasts. She is also cancer free.

“I look better than I did before. They are beautiful. They are perfect.”

Game changers in breast imaging

New breast cancer surgery techniques at St. Joseph’s Hospital are propelled by the latest wave in breast imaging technology.

Contrast-enhanced mammography and tomosynthesis (three-dimensional mammography), are cutting-edge imaging tools resulting in more accurate diagnoses, reducing the need for follow-up visits, decreasing unnecessary biopsies, enhancing critical information required by breast surgeons, and speeding up the overall diagnostic process.

With contrast-enhanced mammography, the area of concern is highlighted in much more detail, pinpointing cancers that can’t be seen with standard mammography. It’s particularly effective in assessing dense breasts. Tomosynthesis, meanwhile, creates three-dimensional images of the breast, providing radiologists with many more views than a standard mammogram.

“Change has arrived, and it’s here,” says Dr. Anat Kornecki, Breast Radiology Lead at St. Joseph’s. “It shifts the entire paradigm of how we think when it comes to assessing breast abnormalities.”

Surgical oncologist Dr. Muriel Brackstone, Medical Director of St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program
Surgical oncologist Dr. Muriel Brackstone, Medical Director of St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program, is leading a shift to a new breast surgery technique that is improving survivorship and quality of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Stephanie Wilds using State-of-the-art imaging technology
State-of-the art imaging in the Breast Care Program at St. Joseph’s Hospital is making a significant difference in precision in breast cancer diagnoses, which is leading to surgical advances.

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