English Posts

1985

Nearly 35 years ago, in one of the most remote regions of Canada, I looked down at an 11-year old girl and realized she was probably going to die. A few months earlier, as my surgical residency came to an end, a colleague had suggested that I take a trip to Iqaluit—then known as Frobisher Bay, over 2,000 kilometres north of Montreal—because he thought it would be a good place for me to get away and study for my Royal College exams. At the same time, I could handle whatever surgical cases came up. When I agreed, I didn’t realize …

READ MORE →
English Posts

Putting promises into practice

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “You’re only as good as your word.” Our standing pledge at CIUSSS West-Central Montreal is that we will never stop looking for new ways to safeguard the well-being of those who rely on us for health care and social services. Now I’m happy to tell you how we’re, once again, putting promises into practice. In my April 2017 blog post, I described a recent trip to Yale New Haven Health, where I learned about the organization’s daily patient safety report. Five days a week, managers from numerous sites come together to …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
English Posts

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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →