About Dr. Howard Ovens

Howard Ovens is the former Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine for the Sinai Health System in Toronto, Canada. He’s a Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto and a member of the CAEP Public Affairs Committee. He’s also the Ontario Government Expert Lead for EM. He tweets on issues of public policy and administration related to EM (@HowardOvens) and is the lead author for EM Cases ‘Waiting to Be Seen - Where EM Policy Meets Practice', blog series.

WTBS 25 COVID-19 Pandemic Exposes the Importance of Resilience in Health System Redesign

EM leaders have important voices for speaking on disaster preparation and response in our hospitals, health care systems, and communities. They also have a responsibility to bring their experience and perspectives to the recovery phase and to the redesign of health systems. Having a framework to inform our thinking will ensure our voices are aligned and have the greatest positive impact possible. Dr. David Petrie explores COVID-19 pandemic lessons and offers pointers for redesigning a better health care system...

WTBS 24 What We Should Learn From the First Wave of COVID-19

COVID-19 is the greatest challenge our healthcare system has faced in a century. Let’s make sure we learn fast, and learn the right things, to get ready for the next challenge...

WTBS 23 Preparing for the Next Viral Wave to Prevent a Tidal One: Co-circulation of Annual Influenza and COVID-19

It remains to be seen whether influenza and COVID-19 will overlap. The actions we take now will determine how well we navigate the coming waves and resulting surges. We’re aiming for something closer to smooth sailing as opposed to capsizing or, worse, sinking. Dr. Kieran Moore and Dr. Howard Ovens explore preparation strategies for co-circulation of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 in this month's Waiting to Be Seen...

WTBS 22 The End of The Beginning: What’s Next for EDs in the COVID-19 Pandemic?

In this month's Waiting to Be Seen blog Dr. Howard Ovens explores The End of The Beginning: What’s Next for EDs in the Pandemic? Many questions have arisen now that we are a few months into the pandemic in North America: How long will ED volumes remain low? What will happen as hospital services ramp up? Will staff get tired of precautions? Will PPE supplies be maintained? What will happen during flu season? What mitigation strategies are available to us? Dr. Ovens explains how we must maintain vigilance in our EDs and not let our guards down. COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon...

WTBS 21 The COVID-19 Outbreak Part 2: Emergency Medicine’s Coming of Age

Bjug Borgundvaag expands on "the mission" aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic for EM and explain why this might just be the best moment ever to be an emergency physician...

WTBS 20 The COVID-19 Outbreak, Part 1: A Character-Defining Period

COVID-19 is a character-defining moment for us as individuals, EDs, and communities, and even as a country and a species. How will you look back on this period?...

WTBS 19 Does Poor Access to Language Services Leave Emergency Departments Primed for Tragedy?

In this guest Waiting to Be Seen blog by Dr. Gaibrie Stephen, we discover the evidence supporting a more rigorous and professional approach to language translation services as well as some practical available options. If a lack of translation can have tragic consequences, the obligation of an ED to set a new and better standard of care for communicating with patients is now painfully clear...

WTBS 18 Zero-Tolerance Policies in the ED Part 2: Taking a Look in the Mirror

Are there things we can do in the ED to reduce the risk of violence? We focus on some of the high-risk populations that are often involved in situations that escalate and suffer the consequences of ED responses. Let's move beyond non-violent de-escalation, examine our underlying attitudes, and explore strategies to prevent escalation on this Waiting to Be Seen blog...

WTBS 17 Zero-Tolerance Policies in the ED, Part 1: The delicate balance of protecting staff while ensuring patient access

We often face violence in the ED. Yet the ED is a sanctuary for care and support. Many EDs have a zero-tolerance policy for violence. In this Waiting to Be Seen blog Dr. Howard Ovens examines the issues we face in Emergency Departments as we try to make staff feel safe and ensure patients can access the care they need. He reframes violence in the ED as a public health issue and offers strategies for a safe ED...

WTBS 16 Listening for the QI Signal in the Noise of ED Return Visits: Focus on Missed MI

Jesse McLaren outlines 10 Quality Improvement (QI) opportunities for reducing missed AMIs and the lessons learned from Ontario’s Emergency Department Return Visit Quality Program in this Waiting to Be Seen blog...

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