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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English Posts

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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English Posts

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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English Posts

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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English Posts

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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English Posts

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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English Posts

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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English Posts

Continuing to build on our CIUSSS’s strong foundation

A little over three years ago, when CIUSSS West-Central Montreal had just come into existence, I expressed the hope that our staff would best serve the public by learning to work as a cohesive group with a real sense of collective identity. This could be done, I felt, by inspiring staff to build something together. Now that my initial three-year term has concluded, I can see how far we have come as true builders. I am also gratified that the Minister of Health and Social Services has re‑appointed me for a second term, because this means I can be actively …

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English Posts

A cyber-security monster may be lurking in the shadows

For those of us in health care, there’s something grimly appropriate about the fact that this year marks the 200th anniversary since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published. Along with other enthralled readers over the past two centuries, we in the medical field are especially taken with the notion of harnessing audacious, new forms of technology to push the boundaries of the healing sciences. But now, more than ever, we are also becoming increasingly aware of the terrifying outcome if those marvelous creations are turned against us. This realization crossed my mind during a recent trip to Israel and Germany, where …

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English Posts

Why I criss-crossed the corridors of the JGH at night

When I play an active role in the affairs of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, it often involves, among other things, conferring with Ministry officials, meeting with the senior directors of our network, or examining the budgetary needs of our various facilities. However, experience has taught me how essential it sometimes can be to bid a brief good-bye to offices and meeting rooms, and instead, to actually get out there and see the way care is delivered. That’s why, not long ago, I spent several overnight shifts—and quite a few daylight hours—strolling through various departments of the Jewish General Hospital. For nearly …

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