'Change Sets You Up Against Tradition'

Dr. Ian Dawe opens Grand Rounds season at Ontario Shores with presentation
on the shift toward the use of standardized assessment tools

Physician-in-Chief Dr. Ian Dawe kicked off a new season of Grand Rounds with his presentation in the Lecture Theatre at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) on Thursday, September 4.

Dr. Dawe’s presentation focused on the hospital’s efforts to foster a culture which uses data, standardized tools and outcome measurements to positively impact patient care.

In the mental health sector as a whole, the use of standardized assessment tools which identify suicide risk, patient care requirements or uphold guidelines or standards is a relatively new concept. Making changes to the way mental health professionals assess and treat patients has its challenges, noted Dr. Dawe.

Grand Rounds

“Change sets you up against tradition,” noted Dr. Dawe. “It is a very difficult thing to do.”

Assessment tools and guidelines are not intended to replace clinical judgment, noted Dr. Dawe.

“Healthcare is a very difficult environment,” he noted. “Navigating through it requires some guide posts.  These tools are in place to assist in decision-making.”

When adoption of assessment tools is slowed, it is often occurs early in the implementation process, noted Dr. Dawe.

“We have to provide evidence which supports the culture and context of the people that are listening to it,” noted Dr. Dawe. “We have to focus on why the change is happening, not what change is happening.

“To make change more effective we need less focus on process and structure. More focus on why change is happening.”

Dr. Dawe added that adoption is most successful when those affected by the change are engaged early in the process with meaningful and authentic dialogue.

“When it comes to change management, there is no such thing as too much communication,” noted Dr. Dawe.
Being open to honest discussion and feedback around change is also important, noted Dr. Dawe.

“We don’t want to exclude negative opinions,” he said. “We are bound to encounter resistance when we push people out of their comfort zones.”

Engaging in those early and potentially tough conversations can assist in building relationships and enhancing engagement.

“We have to be careful viewing compliance to change as acceptance of change.”