Interview with Mayo Hawco, CEO of WellFort Community Health Services.

How did you initially become involved with the Change Day movement?

We’ve been involved with Change Day since it’s inception in 2014. The first time I heard about Change Day was at the IHI National Forum in Orlando that year. After hearing Helen Bevan speak about starting the initiative at NHS, I was excited about the unique campaign. It can be challenging to engage staff in quality programs, but Change Day presented so much potential as a tangible campaign to encourage staff to participate.

What has your experience been like with Change Day from 2014 to today?

We kicked off the Change Day campaign internally at Wellfort in 2014. We’re a very ambitious team so it was no surprise that we set a goal for 100% of our staff to make a pledge. Although we’re a relatively small team of 70 people, we were very proud to successfully reach our goal of every staff member making a pledge. By believing in the power of a small change having a big impact, we were able to foster a lot of excitement and engagement! Throughout 2015 and 2016, smaller groups of people maintained the momentum and continued to make pledges for change.

At the beginning of 2017 during a speech about quality improvement, HQO mentioned they were bringing Change Day to Ontario. We couldn’t have been more excited! This announcement really got me thinking about how amazing it would be to have our own Change Day in Ontario on a much broader scale than Wellfort alone. As the campaign kicked off, we could feel the energy and excitement building and we were more than happy to use our past experience to contribute to the movement. As an organization, we love using social media to engage with our community and Change Day Ontario presented the perfect opportunity to harness this.

Why do you think making pledges to improve compassionate quality care is important?

I think pledging for change brings people back to the client experience. Taking time to reflect on patient care gives staff an opportunity to think about how a patient navigates the health care system and think about how they could do their part to improve that. While thinking of a pledge, health care providers are given the chance to view the system from the context of a patient to bring compassion back to their practice. I like to think of it as “the heart can’t feel what the eye can’t see”.

It’s important to remember why we originally went into health care – because we wanted to help others. Working in such a fast pace environment makes it easy to forget small but important steps, like introducing yourself or asking for feedback at the end of an interaction. Pledging is important because it allows us to commit to taking one action that will ultimately improve the patient’s’ experiences.

How do you think we can keep pushing for positive change?

I think there are multiple perspectives for how we can enact change. For patient-facing staff, the changes they’re making are directly impacting their day to day practice as well as their patients’ experiences. For leadership, they’re working towards change on a broader scale addressing systemic issues or policy changes. I think what will help to continue to drive change is finding the middle ground between these two groups. If we find a way to embrace change and implement change, then I think innovative, positive change will continue.

If you were to give others advice on pledging, what would you tell them?  

I think that the most meaningful pledges are the simple ones. It is the simple issues that are the hardest to solve. More often than not, there’s an inverse correlation between the simplicity of change that health care providers are trying to achieve and the complexity required to make the change. My advice would be to find that simple issue, and commit to finding a way to make a positive difference to improve the issue.


Follow WellFort on Twitter to see more of their Change Day Ontario efforts!