English Posts

Large or small, renovations inevitably cause headaches and ultimately bring satisfaction

A few years ago, I renovated my kitchen—and not without a certain amount of trepidation. If you’ve ever been through the process (or something comparable), you’ve felt the nervousness that comes in dealing with the dust, the disorder, the displacement and an array of logistical headaches. Can the job be put off yet again? Yes, but there comes a time when you just have to face the music. My own kitchen had seen many years of use (it was after all, the original 60 year old kitchen), which is why the paint had started to fade, the appliances weren’t working …

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The fourth industrial revolution

In the past, I’ve written a good deal about my love of reading. Books provide me with two of the things I’ve come to cherish: a chance to slow down, while keeping my mind open to new opportunities for learning. Lately, my shelves have mostly been lined with texts that focus on what’s been called “the fourth industrial revolution”—in other words, digital health, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. What stands out is one particular book that examines this latest revolution from the perspective of health care, Eric Topol’s Deep Medicine. Topol’s belief that “medicine has become inhuman, to …

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English Posts

Connected Health: If Not Now, When?

As an avid reader, I love a good story, especially when it has to do with innovation and new beginnings. Last year, I read an interesting tale of horses in London, England, in the 1800s. At the time, this city was the most populated in the world, with transportation based primarily on horses. As anyone who has recently walked around the Old Port of Montreal knows, horses have a very particular drawback: manure. With 50,000 horses in London in 1894, newspapers were projecting that if no solution could be found, within 50 years the city would be nine feet deep …

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English Posts

Making a difference by being different

“It’s good to be different” is the phrase that we, as parents, find ourselves repeating again and again to our children, as they grow and take on interests that others don’t necessarily share. This is a useful means of maintaining a sensible perspective, but it’s not an approach that should be limited solely to child-rearing. Indeed, being “different” – in the best sense of the word – has often given rise to some of the most significant and influential changes in history. Take, for instance, the invention of the light bulb. When Henry Woodward and, later, Thomas Edison were developing …

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Let’s get digital

We’ve all heard the old adage, “You’re only as good as your word.” Well, late last year, in discussions with staff, senior leaders and the Board of Directors, I explained that in the next 12 to 18 months, we as a CIUSSS will be focusing on how we can effectively use digital solutions to change the way we deliver care. The goal is to provide care wherever the patient is and in so doing, to increase the user experience and eliminate some of the problems that we face every day. In January, accompanied by senior members of our Informatics and …

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The point of care is where the patient is

For many, January is a time to make resolutions that (hopefully) will lead to improvement in the coming year. Not one to believe that arbitrary calendar dates should dictate when growth and change occur, I much prefer the notion of continually trying to better ourselves, regardless of the date. This is why, in December, I invited leaders from across our CIUSSS—from the Board of Directors to clinicians to administrators—to join me for an afternoon that focused on the future of health care as we know it. Simply put, we need to adapt our processes, so that the point of care …

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The mathematics of the flu shot

Many things in life can be explained mathematically, whether simply (1+1 = 2) or in a more complex fashion (x + y = z). When it comes to the great debate about whether to get a flu shot, the equation couldn’t be easier. Here’s mine: 1 President and CEO of a healthcare network + 1 elderly mother = A moral obligation to protect my mother from any germs that she might catch from me Unsure about how to calculate your own equation of whether to get the flu vaccine? Take a look at the following numbers and see what you …

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Hotels and health care: similar but different

When you stay in a hotel, what makes the experience exceptional? Is it the welcoming door-man? The friendly concierge? Maybe the efficient and thorough cleaning staff? In fact, it isn’t any individual person—it’s all of them, working together to make the guest feel special. The same can be said for health care. Gone are the days when nurses and doctors were considered to be the only true caregivers. In today’s healthcare environment, everyone plays a significant role—from the parking attendant to the medical secretary, from the accountant to the electrician. Not every member of staff has hands-on contact with users …

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It’s time to talk frankly about the implications of the way doctors are paid

To meet society’s growing demand for health care and social services that respond effectively to users’ needs, many changes have been introduced across Canada in recent years to the system that provides care. Some of these have been refinements, while others were significant overhauls, especially in Quebec. To varying degrees, improvement has resulted. However, significant and long-lasting progress will be difficult to achieve, if a particularly thorny issue is not addressed head-on: the outdated and sometimes incoherent way in which physicians are compensated for their services. As I point out in an article that will appear in the healthcare policy …

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Robotic surgery yields benefits, but deserves our ongoing scrutiny

When new medical technology is introduced, it’s only natural for us to be dazzled by the “Wow” factor, as we imagine treatments and cures that were previously thought impossible. That was the initial reaction to robot-assisted surgery in the early 2000s, but it was quickly followed by healthy skepticism: Would this type of surgery be effective for a wide range of patients? Would it really broaden surgeons’ capabilities? Would it be cost-effective? We now know the answer is Yes. Recently, at the JGH’s first conference on robotic surgery, experts from within the hospital, from elsewhere in Canada and from the …

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