English Posts

Public feedback is crucial to improving the quality of care

CIUSSS West-Central Montreal has come so far in its 2½-year existence that there was an unmistakable tone of confidence and optimism at our CIUSSS’s second annual Public Information Meeting earlier this month. I only wish that members of the public had attended in larger numbers. I’m not suggesting that we wanted a bigger turnout to garner more compliments for our performance in 2016-2017. Rather, I had hoped to hear from people whose expectations were not fully met. Ever since our CIUSSS was launched, we embraced the philosophy that improvement can happen only if we understand where, how and why we …

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English Posts

Today’s fanciful speculation could well be tomorrow’s breakthrough

Try, if you can, to imagine a miraculous future where the heart of a recently deceased patient is implanted into the ailing body of another person. Where doctors use a robot to perform surgery that might otherwise be impossible. Where a patient’s medical data can be instantly viewed on the screen of a light-weight, portable computer. No, I’m not stuck in a time warp. I’m trying to illustrate the truth behind the cliché—overworked, but nonetheless valid—that yesterday’s science fiction often manages to enter our daily lives more quickly than we’re willing to believe. For example, a recent article in The …

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English Posts

Standing strong despite overwhelming odds

No matter how successful we may be in achieving many of our goals, there are times when we just can’t shake the feeling that the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against us. Perhaps life has taken an unexpected turn (personally or professionally), or a new project is limping along, or the latest obstacles seem dismayingly high. That’s why I recently found O Jerusalem to be such a gripping read. Published in 1972, this book by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins is widely regarded as one of the best accounts of the creation of the State of Israel. At well over 600 …

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English Posts

Looking for the next miracle—cautiously

From time to time, as I glance at my phone for a message or news update, it occurs to me that I’m holding a miracle in my hand. We’ve all become so dependent on these marvels that we often forget that their existence would have been greeted with utter astonishment only a few years ago. Of course, high-tech miracles have been popping into our lives for decades. In the late 1950s, for example, transistors made radios small enough to fit into your pocket. Imagine! In the mid-’60s, audiotape cassettes made personalized music truly portable. Amazing! In the medical field, technology …

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English Posts

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: A word made famous by Aretha Franklin in her classic 1967 hit of the same name. The lyrics urge the listener to “find out what it (respect) means to me.” A thought-provoking demand. Since before the creation of our healthcare network, I’ve advocated the adoption of user-focused care, with the goal of providing the best possible experience to our users. Doing so means going the extra mile, whether in greeting patients at the front door and escorting them to their destination, or organizing a wedding anniversary celebration for couples living in a long-term care centre. It’s one thing to …

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English Posts

Traffic cone

If you were asked to describe the shape of an orange traffic cone, what would you respond? For many of us, our first instinct would be to say, “It’s a triangle”. But, what about if you looked at it from above? The triangular shape would disappear and be replaced by a circle. As the old saying goes, “It’s all in how you look at things.” Last week, I was fortunate to attend a stimulating three-day course at Harvard University where, among other things, the topic of situational awareness was discussed at length. It reminded me a great deal of the …

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English Posts

The Purple Cow

Working in health care, we are forever under the microscope. This results in a climate where we are constantly trying to improve ways of doing things, so that our patients, residents and clients receive superior care. As I thought about this it made me think of the marketing concept known as the purple cow effect. Author Seth Godin coined the term when he explained that to be successful, one ought to be remarkable, not in the conventional sense of being noteworthy or interesting, but quite literally, by doing something that people remark on. In his view, in a pasture of …

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English Posts

When staff “get it”

Often, when we think of the most fragile members of society, we tend to think of newborns or infants who, would not thrive—or possibly even survive— without our care. But what about the elderly? I’ve spoken in a past post about our aging population, but how many of us truly understand the additional care and attention that are needed by many of our seniors? Last weekend, 66 residents from the Henri Bradet Residential Centre moved to the Jewish General Hospital for 12 to 18 months while the Centre is being renovated. The care that staff took was nothing short of …

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English Posts

Why I’m so happy about accomplishing “nothing”

Usually, when someone asks you to scale something from zero to 10, the higher the number, the greater the level of satisfaction. However, last week our CIUSSS achieved something so truly outstanding that we got a zero—and I’m thrilled! On May 15, we launched a week-long pilot project entitled “Zero Emergency Department (ED) patients over 24 hours”, the culmination of almost a year of planning. The mission that we embarked on was to ensure that no patient stayed in the JGH Emergency Department for more than 24 hours. Patients were either admitted to the hospital, or seen and discharged. The …

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English Posts

Jobs to be done

We live in an age of surveys, with marketers constantly asking us our age, gender and personal preferences. All the while, they hope this information will unlock the key to edging out their competitors, once and for all. If we apply this trend to health care, we can agree that some of this information could prove useful, but is it going to help us provide the best possible experience for our patients, clients and residents? The simple answer is – no. A favourite author of mine, Clayton M. Christensen, wrote in 2016 that instead of focusing on demographic or psychographic …

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