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Inspiring workplace

CHEO Clinical Engineering brings out to the boogie in the Ophthalmology Clinic (C-8)

 Darryl Cameron and Marc Bergeron, the engineers behind CHEO’s new fixation devices, stand next to their funky creation which grabs the attention of children during eye examinations through Elmo and other characters dancing along to groovy tunes.

Did you know the Village People perform their 1978 disco hit Y.M.C.A every day at CHEO?

Young man, there’s no need to feel down…
I said young man, pick yourself off the ground…


It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.


Thanks to the creative work of Darryl Cameron and Marc Bergeron in Clinical Engineering, you can hear the Village People, the Jackons, Kool and the Gang, Fats Domino, Captain and Tenille and more in the Ophthalmology Clinic (C-8).

To complete a proper eye exam, an ophthalmologist requires the subject’s eyes to remain stationary, at least for a moment. With adults, this is simple. The doctor simply asks, “Please stare at the red circle on the far wall.” But, try getting a four-year-old to do that, even for a moment.

A fixation device is something used in opthamology to briefly attract and hold a child’s attention on something in the distance, allowing a physician to make a thorough eye exam. To hold a child’s attention it needs to be fun, interesting and unexpected, so they will be compelled to look at it.

How about Elmo busting a move, complete with disco music and lights?

“The fixation devices we were using were based on garage door opener technology,” says Daryl. “Stepping on the floor button turned it on — there was a pause and then music played for ten seconds and a teddy bear rocked back and forth in a box near the ceiling at the far end of the room. That was it.”

“These fixation devices were 20 years old. They were starting to break and we thought… instead of repairing these, why don’t we build our own, from scratch,” says Marc. “We knew we could build something way better to fulfill CHEO’s customized needs.”

The first step was to consult the ophthalmologists to learn what features would make CHEO’s fixation devices as effective as possible?

Marc and Darryl learned that they need to turn on and off without delay — step on the pedal and Elmo instantly dances, lift your foot off and Elmo stops. They needed to be very visually stimulating to attract and hold a child’s attention. And they needed to be adaptable.

Every examining room in the Ophthalmology Clinic is now equipped with two fixation devices. These are compartments near the ceiling, facing the child, each containing something interesting like Elmo, a Furby, a cow, or another stuffy.

The foot controls have been rebuilt with new up-to-date wireless controls and 3D printing so that all of the room controls — fixation devices, room lights, exam chair height, and more — are included in the same console, minimizing cords all over the floor and improving safety.

And now, when an ophthalmologist steps on the pedal…

Don’t blame it on sunshine…
Don’t blame it on moonlight…


These new CHEO-built fixation devices are completely customizable. Are the disco lights blinking too fast? Slow them down. Is it the holiday season? Switch Elmo for Santa and the Village People for Bing Crosby.

The best life for every child includes making their CHEO experience as fun as possible.

“This has been such a great project,” says Mark Asbil, Manager, Clinical Engineering. “Darryl and Marc have done extraordinary work. They even brought their personal 3D printers in from home so this could happen. And, the doctors and the kids love the new devices.”

Don’t blame it on good times…
Blame it on the boogie.

Inpatient medicine huddles improve safety, communications and learning

 Six women who are health-care aids, nurses and support staff stand, smiling in front of a large white board.

“I am proud of our inpatient teams for refreshing their team huddles,” says Ann Lynch, Vice-President, Acute Care and Chief Nursing Executive. “Team huddles are important. They make CHEO safe and reliable, not only for families but also for staff.”

By April 2019, everybody at CHEO — nurses, physicians, health-care professionals, administrative staff, food services staff, and more — will be taking part in daily or weekly huddles. Inspired by football huddles, these are quick meetings to ensure every member of the team knows the plan and what is expected of them. 

Huddles bring together front line staff, as they are the best people to identify problems and implement solutions. The first order of business is always safety. Has anyone noticed anything which could be a safety risk to children, youth, families or staff? If there were safety concerns noted in a previous huddle, what has been done to address them?

The second order of business is problem solving. Are there any issues? How can the team fix them? How can the team reduce waste or find more creative ways to involve families in CHEO’s care?

CHEO’s two inpatient medicine units (4 East and 5 East) have expanded their huddles beyond these two basic functions. Their huddles now include project updates so that everyone knows what’s longer term projects and education. 

Inpatient medicine sets aside huddle time, weekly, to educate staff about specific issues which directly affect care. This is in addition to pre-existing education and professional development which is a core part of nursing.

“Nurses know what goes on at the bedside and they are better than anyone at telling us what they need to improve safety and provide better care,” says Lynch. “Huddles are an excellent way to communicate these needs.”

CHEO’s surgery team inspired by addition of Epic

In June, CHEO expanded Epic (our electronic health information system) to include surgery.

“OpTime allows the surgery health-care team to communicate and share documentation throughout the hospital,” says Anna Pevreal, CHEO Director of Critical Care and Surgical Services. “Doing so improves care and helps us to achieve the best life for every child and youth.”

The surgery team now knows if patients have been interviewed by a day-surgery nurse and patient charts are easily reviewed prior to surgery. CHEO’s Medical Device and Reprocessing Department has up-to-the-minute status of every surgery, making it easy to ensure surgeons have the proper instrumentation for every procedure.

OpTime includes a digital patient tracking board in the family waiting area. This improves communication with parents and families about the location and status of their child throughout their CHEO surgical experience. This initiative has dramatically reduced anxiety among family members who often used to be left wondering what was happening with their child. Now, families know, minute-by-minute, the status of their child — before, during and after surgery. They can, for instance, go for a walk or to the cafeteria without fearing that they will miss talking to their child’s surgeon when their operation is complete.

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