Strategic Plan Area of Focus: Health System Solutions


Dr. Danielle Martin, vice-president of medical affairs and health system solutions at WCH, and
Dr. Sacha Bhatia, director of WIHV. Photo courtesy of Laura Arsie.

One of the clearest expressions of Women’s College Hospital’s (WCH) strategic plan is the creation of the WCH Institute for Health Systems Solutions and Virtual Care – WIHV (pronounced weave).

Launched in June 2013, WIHV is focused on developing health system solutions, and will act as an innovation laboratory to design and test new ways of delivering higher quality healthcare more efficiently. WIHV is designed to advance new programs and policy approaches in the world of ambulatory care – and then scale them up across Canada and beyond.

Transitions of care represent a set of cracks that people can fall through. It’s so important to evaluate projects that aim to improve those outcomes on a system level.

“WIHV is a development platform for Women’s College Hospital, the Ontario healthcare system and beyond to address system challenges related to quality, value and equity,” says Dr. Sacha Bhatia, a cardiologist and Harvard research fellow, who is joining WCH as the inaugural director of WIHV.

WIHV’s three project streams – quality, value and equity – reflect WCH’s overall mission and approach to care. The quality stream will create solutions to address some of the biggest emerging issues in healthcare, such as avoidable emergency department visits, hospital readmissions, and improved care transitions across the system.

“Transitions of care represent a set of cracks that people can fall through,” says Dr. Danielle Martin, vice-president, medical affairs and health system solutions at WCH, who will provide leadership to WIHV along with Dr. Bhatia. “It’s so important to evaluate projects that aim to improve those outcomes on a system level.”

WIHV’s value stream will focus on projects that ensure that when healthcare dollars are spent, they’re being spent on interventions that are proven to enhance health. WIHV will identify ways to reduce waste and redirect resources to the most helpful interventions.

An equity lens will be applied to all of WIHV’s work, and local and global health equity issues will be addressed through specific project work.
“For each project brought forth, we will ask ourselves what the considerations are for marginalized and vulnerable populations,” Dr. Martin explains.

Examples of current WCH programs that may be scaled up through WIHV following evaluation include:

  • Medical Virtual Ward, in partnership with Toronto Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), St. Michael’s Hospital, University Health Network (UHN) and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Mental Health Virtual Ward, in partnership with Toronto CCAC and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • Bridges SCOPE project (Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience), in partnership with UHN and CCAC
  • Post-Surgical Follow-up Mobile Application, in partnership with QoC Health Inc.

Strong and diverse partnerships will be the key to ensuring that the solutions developed and evaluated at WIHV do not just benefit patients at WCH, but are applicable across the healthcare system.

“Our partnerships in the community, with other hospital organizations, with primary care, with government, with policy-makers, with the university – those partnerships are what will allow us to disseminate our learning and share the successful projects so they can be implemented system-wide,” says Dr. Martin.

While individual patients obviously benefit from innovative healthcare solutions, the goal of WIHV is to look at the big picture, approaching problems and discovering solutions at the system level.

“We want to help fix the big problems in the system,” Dr. Martin says. “We’re interested in applied, scalable, policy-relevant projects that hit the most pressing challenges of the day for policy-makers and healthcare providers.”

For more information on WIHV go to