Spotlight Series

The Spotlight Series is a responsive webinar series that raises the voice of Canada’s healthcare improvers and innovators to shed light on ways to address the most pressing challenges in healthcare across Canada. The series will feature strategies for improvement that are transferable and offer benefit in the longer-term, for example, ways to embed sustained improvements and nurture an enabling environment for improvers and improvement alike.

The series is targeted to health system leaders and policymakers, and aims to cover selected topics from all angles of the six levers for healthcare improvement: Engaging patients and citizens, building organizational capacity, creating supportive policies and incentives, focusing on population needs, engaging front-line managers and providers in creating an improvement culture, and promoting evidence-informed decision-making.

Upcoming Webinars

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Recent Webinars

September 11: Responding to COVID-19: Creating a Virtual Triage to Provide 24/7 Access to a Healthcare Provider

Watch the Webinar via YouTube »
Presentation: Responding to COVID-19: Creating a Virtual Triage to Provide 24/7 Access to a Healthcare Provider »
CFP Article
CBC Interview 

The Renfrew County Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre (VTAC) was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen access to healthcare. It provides initial virtual assessments by Family Physicians and Nurse Practitioners; home assessments, treatment and remote monitoring capability by Community Paramedics; and escalation of care to a Community Acute Care physician or a Palliative Care physician as required. Conceived, developed and implemented in just 12 days, VTAC is a collaboration of unprecedented scale and speed between Family Physicians and other primary care providers, the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service and five local hospitals.  

In just a few months there have been over 11,000 patient visits through VTAC, with two thirds taking place via virtual consultation with a primary care physician and one-third taking place in the patient’s home by a paramedic [REF]. Early results have been promising - over half of the assessments would likely have resulted in the patient attending the Emergency Department if Renfrew County VTAC had not been available, increasing their risk during the pandemic and potentially straining hospital resources including PPE.

VTAC highlights an opportunity to modernize and improve access to healthcare during and well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. This spotlight episode will dive into how the program was developed including the political and funding supports established, as well as results to date. Discussions will also focus on learnings and implications not only for other regions looking to improve access, but also in preparing for anticipated future waves.


  • Elan Graves – Director, CFHI


  • Michael Nolan – Chief, The County of Renfrew Paramedic Service
  • Dr. Jonathan Fitzsimon – Chief of Medicine, Arnprior Regional Health (RC VTAC Clinical Coordinator)
  • Eric Hanna – President and CEO, Arnprior Regional Health (RC VTAC Finance and Logistical Coordinator)
  • Karen Simpson, Executive Director, Arnprior and District Family Health Team (RC VTAC Administrative Coordinator)
  • Melinda Ritza - Team Leader for the Renfrew County Mobile Geriatric Day Hospital

July 14: #MoreThanAVisitor – Reintegration of Family Caregivers as Essential Partners in Care

Watch the Webinar via YouTube »
Presentation: #MoreThanAVisitor – Reintegration of Family Caregivers as Essential Partners in Care »

Hosts: Julie Drury (Strategic Lead, Patient Partnerships, CFHI) and Dr. Ward Flemons (Medical Advisor to the Health Quality Council of Alberta)

Speakers: Mary Anne Levasseur (Caregiver, Quebec), Dr Gillian Kernaghan (President and Chief Executive Officer St. Joseph’s Health Care, Ontario) and Chris Mayhew (Senior Consultant- Engagement and Patient Experience, Alberta Health Services).

In March 2020, as a result of the pandemic, and in an effort to minimize and control the risk of COVID-19 cases, many hospitals across the country reacted quickly and made significant changes to their family presence policies. With some exceptions, many organizations instituted blanket visitor restrictions, which included essential partners in care.

To help hospitals that are revisiting their policies move forward and reintegrate family caregivers as essential partners in care, CFHI convened a Rapid Response Expert Advisory Group composed of clinicians, healthcare system leaders, hospital CEOs, legal/bioethics experts, public health experts, and patient, family, and caregiver partners from across the country. They reviewed the evidence, considered the pandemic context and identified seven key steps that to support hospitals to welcome back family caregivers as essential partners in care in a time of crisis. 

Together with some of the advisory group members, we will discuss the report – Re-Integration of Family Caregivers as Essential Partners in Care in a Time of COVID-19 – along with the key steps, resources and examples of patient- and family-partnered care that can be applied during a time of COVID-19.


June 29: What We've Learned (So Far): Outbreak in La Loche, Saskatchewan

Watch the Webinar via YouTube »
Presentation: What We've Learned (So Far): Outbreak in La Loche, Saskatchewan »

Dr. Rim Zayed, Medical Health Officer, Northern Saskatchewan Population Health Unit
Dr Moliehi Khaketla, Medical Health Officer, Northern Saskatchewan Population Health Unit
Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka, Medical Health Officer, Northern Intertribal Health Authority
Jennifer Ahenakew, Executive Director of Primary Health Care Northwest- North, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Robert St. Pierre, Mayor of La Loche
Chief Teddy Clarke, Chief of Clearwater River Dene Nation
Leonard Montgrande, Area Director, Métis Nation of Saskatchewan

The COVID-19 outbreak in the far north village of La Loche and Clearwater River Dene Nation, Saskatchewan was one of the first outbreaks in a remote community in Canada. With a population of just over 4000, the communities are approximately 95% Indigenous (First Nations and Métis). On April 15, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the area and was then transmitted rapidly throughout the community. The outbreak highlighted several long-standing social determinants of health challenges in the community, including lack of adequate housing, overcrowding, vulnerable populations, language barriers, social inclusion, and challenges related to mental health and substance use, and required a prompt and coordinated public health response that leveraged existing relationships, and community strengths and partnerships.  
Learn how the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Northern Intertribal Health Authority and the local Emergency Operations Centre collaborated to develop a timely response to COVID-19 in a culturally diverse northern and remote population.

June 3: The New Reality of Culturally Safe Practices in Healthcare During COVID-19

Watch the Webinar via YouTube »

Over the past 20 years there have been remarkable strides in providing cultural safe services to First Nations patients, families and communities, however there is still much work to be done in ensuring equitable access to culturally safe services.

During this pandemic, health organizations and service providers have faced additional challenges in their efforts to prepare, monitor and respond to COVID-19. Our First Nation partners are juggling an unprecedented number of concerns in accessing safe, and culturally appropriate, services for their community members.

During this webinar we will review the historical and present-day impacts of pandemics on First Nations communities, including how COVID-19 is amplifying existing inequalities, and learn about the work of the FNHMA to support First Nations health managers. There will be an opportunity for critical self-reflection and discussion, to unpack how health care organizations can address the challenge to provide culturally safe services/supports to First Nations (as allies) during the pandemic.

May 28: What We've Learned (So Far): High River Meat Plant Outbreak Response

Watch the Webinar via YouTube »
Presentation: What We've Learned (So Far): High River Meat Plant Outbreak Response »
AIMGA Resources »
Recommendations to Prepare for COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace »

Alberta had one of the largest meat plant COVID-19 outbreaks in North America. Cargill Meat Solutions meat plant is situated in High River. Mid May, there were 940 confirmed and probable COVID cases among employees and another 628 household contact cases, for a total of 1568 confirmed cases. Meat plants have a work environment that most people know little about and have a largely immigrant workforce. The community and health services had to react fast to support the Cargill community. Join this webinar to hear how immigrant organizations and Alberta Health Services pulled together a crisis response taskforce to react and support the Cargill employees. We will give an overview of challenges faced by this community, meat plant control measures that were implemented, first language support services and voluntary isolation spaces in hotels. Meat plants and other similar working environments across the globe will continue to be a challenge in the COVID pandemic. Join us to find out what Alberta learned during this heart-breaking outbreak.

May 11: Advance Care Planning and Serious Illness Conversations; Lessons for Improvement

Watch the Webinar via YouTube »
Presentation: Advance Care Planning and Serious Illness Conversations: Lessons for Improvement »
Discussion Summary: Advance Care Planning and Serious Illness Conversations; Lessons for Improvement »

COVID-19 has heightened awareness of the need for people of all ages and all states of illness or health to reflect on what matters to them and what kind of care they would want in the future should they become seriously ill. The time of pandemic provides an important opportunity to share successful models and approaches for improving conversations about care planning and treatment decision with a goal of ensuring that care providers and recipients work respectfully and in culturally appropriate ways to, in partnership, communicate, set goals of care and make informed treatment decisions.

In a conversation about leading practices and lived experience, we will share examples of successful improvement strategies and identify opportunities to increase the reach of effective conversations about serious illness and what matters.

April 20: Family and Caregiver Presence and Partnership during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Watch the Webinar via YouTube »
Presentation: Family and Caregiver Presence and Partnership during the COVID-19 Pandemic »
Discussion Summary: Family and Caregiver Presence and Partnership during the COVID-19 Pandemic »

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to rapid changes to policies and practices that support family/caregiver presence and partnership in care. Despite many improvements in the implementation of family/caregiver presence in recent years, COVID-19 has challenged organizations across the country like never before in managing the tension between patient-and family-centred and partnered care and infection control and safety.

This webinar will focus on what healthcare organizations are considering as they react and adjust during the pandemic, including changes made to family/caregiver presence policies and practices and how they are able to maintain patient/family engagement during this difficult time, with considerations of how patient and family centred and partnered policies and practices will be re-calibrated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves. In a conversation with a patient leader and healthcare leaders we will explore:

  1. Partnership in Care: What do family presence policies currently look like during this pandemic? What factors came into consideration as decisions were rapidly made and with whom? How has this been communicated to patients, families, caregivers?
  2. Impact of COVID-19: How are families/caregivers enabled to continue as "partners in care" during the pandemic? How will family presence policies and practices be re calibrated as the pandemic begins to resolve?
  3. Lessons Learned: What key lessons have you reflected on as you consider the current tension between patient and family centred and partnered care and infection control?