Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 5(4) June 2002 : 18-24.doi:10.12927/hcq.2002.20497

Quarterly Change

Dr. Michel Bureau of St-Denis-de-Brompton, Quebec, was recently appointed to the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). CIHR's Governing Council is comprised of 19 volunteer members from across the country that represent a wide spectrum of expertise and experience in health research and policy. Charged with the responsibility of ensuring CIHR works to fulfill its mandate, the Governing Council sets the overall strategic direction, goals and policies of CIHR and the Institutes. Over the last year, CIHR has created 13 virtual institutes, appointed Scientific Directors to run them, selected over 200 volunteers to guide the institutes and provided funding to over 5,000 established researchers and thousands of trainees across Canada. (www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/index_e.shtml)

Alberta Health Minister, Gary Mar, announced in June that the Aspen, Capital, and Crossroads regions would assume responsibility for delivering services to the people in the WestView health region. The WestView Regional Health Authority is dissolved to facilitate this change. The board chairs from Aspen, Capital, and Crossroads will be appointed as official administrators and will be responsible for managing the region until the transition is completed. The administrators will submit a plan to the Minister by September 1, 2002 to ensure employees and patients are well served during the transition phase. The WestView health region stretches from Devon to Spruce Grove, Edson, Hinton and Jasper in the west and serves a population of approximately 93,000. (www.health.gov.ab.ca)


According to a new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) Canadian acute care hospitals handled almost three million hospitalizations in 2000/2001, a decrease of 2% from the previous year and 10.7% less than in 1995/1996. The hospitalization rate per 100,000 reflects this trend, declining 3.5% from the previous year and 16.5% compared to 1995/1996. CIHI's statistics show a patient's average length of stay in hospital was 7.2 days in 2000/2001, slightly higher than the 7.1 days in the previous year but the same as reported five years ago in 1995/1996. (www.cihi.ca)


At the Canadian Nurses Association Convention in June, Anne McLellan, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada will provide $250,000 for the development of Healthy Workplace Guidelines for Canadian nurses. Under the leadership of Health Canada's Office of Nursing Policy and in partnership with leading nursing and healthcare organizations, this initiative will translate existing research and experience into guidelines that can be used by nurses, employers, unions, governments and others to improve the working conditions of Canadian nurses.


Study to Examine Adverse Events in Canadian Hospitals

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) today announced a jointly funded research study to examine the extent of adverse events in Canadian acute care hospitals and the availability of data that could be used to support continuous monitoring and reduce these events. This is the first study of its kind in Canada and results of the study are expected to be released to the public in 2004.

The study, Adverse Events in Canadian Hospitals, will be led by Dr. Ross Baker, Associate Professor, Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He will be working with Dr. Peter Norton, Professor and Head of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Calgary. The research team was selected through a peer review process of research applications, conducted by CIHR. Through a systematic review of Canadian hospital charts, the researchers will determine the extent and nature of adverse events in Canadian hospitals. They will also determine the availability of routinely collected data that, if appropriately monitored, could serve to reduce the occurrence of preventable adverse events. (www.cihi.ca)


Saskatchewan recently introduced the Regional Health Services Act that will combine 32 health districts into 12 Regional Health Authorities (RHAs), include a stronger role for the province in planning and setting overall priorities for the health system and more clearly define the responsibilities of government and health regions. The proposed act also puts greater onus on health authorities to meet financial commitments and avoid deficits. To support improved health system planning, government is also undertaking to provide RHAs with multi-year funding targets. It is expected the new regional health authorities will be in place by August 1st. (www.health.gov.sk.ca)


Also in Saskatchewan, the Health Services Utilization and Research Commission (HSURC) is dismantling after 10 years. The organization will be replaced by the Health Quality Council, one of the first in Canada, and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation. For updates see: www.hsurc.sk.ca.


New Independent Commission to Monitor Provincial Healthcare

Recommended in the report from the Premier's Advisory Council on Health, the Health Services Utilization and Outcomes Commission will conduct ongoing assessments of Alberta's healthcare system and report publicly on the system's performance and the quality of the services it offers. The commission is composed of medical, academic, public and government representatives, and is chaired by Bonnie Laing, former MLA.

The commission's mandate includes the following:

  • Monitoring and reporting on the quality and accessibility of Alberta's healthcare services.
  • Monitoring and reporting on the healthcare system's record in safety and overall performance.
  • Monitoring and reporting on patient satisfaction.
  • Proposing a series of performance measures for evaluating the healthcare system.
  • Tracking how Albertans use the system.
The commission will also issue regular public reports on the health of Albertans, including an annual public report card on how well some select healthcare services are being performed, such as emergency room services and acute care.

This commission expands on the work of the former Health Services Utilization Commission. That group was made up of four of the nine members now serving on the commission, including the chair. The budget for the commission is $2.5 million annually. The commission is the final team organized by Alberta Health and Wellness in response to the recommendations of the report from the Premier's Advisory Council on Health. (www.health.gov.ab.ca)


British Columbia has introduced a $16-million action plan to strengthen drinking water protection. The Drinking Water Action Plan is based on eight key principles for safe drinking water that focus on preventing contamination, and identifying potential risks and appropriate water-quality improvements. The plan establishes clear accountability for safe drinking water under the leadership of the Minister of Health Services, and provides the provincial health officer with a new mandate and responsibility for drinking water. New positions - drinking water protection officers - will be established in all regional health authorities. (www.gov.bc.ca/healthservices)


A new survey by Statistics Canada confirms that New Brunswick's efforts to recruit and retain physicians are paying off. The Stats Can Survey shows that 94.6% of New Brunswickers have a family physician. That's the highest percentage reported in any province in Canada, and significantly higher than the national average (87.7%). In November 1999, the Province launched a physician recruitment strategy, which provides incentives to bring doctors to New Brunswick and keep them here. Since the introduction of this strategy, there has been a net increase of 63 physicians. Highlights of the survey are available on the Statistics Canada Web site: www.statscan.ca.


The Ontario government is investing $2 million to significantly expand and enhance digital library services for northern healthcare professionals. The Regional Library Service (RLS) will expand from the current 11 to 40 sites. The library service provides networked access for health practitioners in the North to retrieve information to support clinical decision-making, education and research. The Northern Academic Health Science Network (NAHSN), based in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, operates the Regional Library Service.


Hamilton's McMaster University together with NAHSN will deliver enhanced digital library services to health professionals in the north through the Digital Health Library (DHL) project. The Digital Health Library will provide customized information and alert practitioners to new information specific and relevant to their field of practice or study, such as aboriginal health, geriatric care, and rural medicine. The new system builds on the established RLS and strengthens the links between evidence-based research, and health professional education and practice. The government is providing $1 million in funding over three years for the DHL project and $350,000 annually for three years to support the RLS expansion. (www.gov.on.ca/health)


Manitoba Health recently announced the appointment of Dr. Donald Klassen as medical director of the new Office of Rural and Northern Health (ORNH) which will be developed in Dauphin. The office will support provincial efforts to increase the number of physicians practising in rural and northern communities. Dr. Klassen, a family physician from Winkler, will handle this position on a half-time basis while maintaining his practice in Winkler. He will be responsible for providing the medical leadership and input for all programs managed or co-ordinated by the ORNH. These programs include promotion of medicine as a career to rural and northern students, expansion of training opportunities in these areas for undergraduates and postgraduates, and restructuring rural and northern continuing education opportunities. The Regional Health Authorities of Manitoba Inc., which is an association representing all RHAs, will oversee the operations of the office, including its $500,000 budget. (www.gov.mb.ca/health)


Vendor News


Earlier this year, ARAMARK was ranked the No. 1 company in "Diversified Outsourcing Services" in FORTUNE Magazine's new ranking of "America's Most Admired Companies." ARAMARK, which moved into the Top 50 Most Admired Companies overall, captured the No. 1 ranking in the Outsourcing category for the first time. In the overall ranking, ARAMARK rose dramatically over last year - moving up to No. 48 this year from No. 121 in 2001.


GlaxoSmithKline Inc. recently made a $1 million investment to establish a McMaster University Research Chair in pediatric asthma at the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. The creation of this Chair is part of the GlaxoSmithKline Pathfinders Fund for Leaders in Canadian Health Science Research, a $10 million initiative to help fight the brain drain in Canada by providing opportunities for leading medical researchers and scientists.


The Toronto chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators recently named David Booth, President and Managing Director of Compaq Canada Corp., winner of the 2002 CEO Award of Excellence in Communication Leadership. Mr. Booth was selected to receive this year's award because of his leadership with a highly effective corporate communications strategy, which was focused on establishing Compaq's profile as a leading IT solutions provider. The strategy targeted key corporate and public sector customers and partners, while also rallying the commitment and support of employees during a period of great change. Of course Compaq is now the new HP.


Trillium Health Centre was awarded the prestigious Canadian College of Health Service Executives and 3M Health Care Quality Team Awardfor its innovative, highly successful ambulatory care centre. Among the outcomes that impressed the Award adjudicators:

  • The ambulatory centre's medical clinics serve more than 9,000 patients annually;
  • The savings from converting medical treatment to an ambulatory setting from either emergency visits or an inpatient setting are more than $1.3 million a year;
  • Annual savings from transferring patients needing day surgery from Trillium's acute (in-patient) Mississauga Site to its Queensway Site are $2.56 million;
  • Outpatient surgical volumes have doubled in the past three years, a mark of the centre's excellent reputation.
  • Patient satisfaction and compliments have increased dramatically.
The development of Trillium's ambulatory care centre will continue to evolve over the coming year. Plans call for a Cancer Detection and Treatment Centre and Breast Centre at this location. A Respiratory Day Hospital will offer an alternative to inpatient care for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and the Trillium Spine Institute is in the planning stages.

Carolyn Baker, Vice President of Patient Care Programs and Chief Nursing Officer at Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, was one of 36 international nurse leaders to graduate from the Johnson & Johnson - Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives, an intensive three-week management program held at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Baker was selected to participate in the program this year from a group of senior nurses from the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.


Agfa Inc. has signed a major multimillion dollar contract to install and service a fully integrated PACS (picture archiving and communication system) in nine networked northeastern Ontario hospitals. The project, referred to as NORrad, will improve access to specialty care for patients living in rural and remote communities by digitizing and connecting diagnostic image data among nine community hospitals. NORrad will be the largest regional multi-site PACS installation in North America, covering nearly 150,000 square kilometers, serving community hospitals in Timmins, Hearst, Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, Matheson, Moose Factory and Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario.

Each of the nine hospitals will receive a complete Agfa IMPAX system including Computer Radiography as well as digital diagnostic and clinical review workstations and voice recognition dictation software to streamline medical procedures and provide patients with improved healthcare services. IMPAX will facilitate the complete spectrum of digital patient diagnosis, making information available within seconds to every networked review station within each NORrad hospital and to doctors' offices. The system will be connected to all modalities including x-ray, ultrasound, cardiology, nuclear medicine, Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Each of the NORrad hospitals will be connected with a dedicated highspeed broadband ATM network demonstrating the capability of IMPAX to interconnect with major telecommunication solutions.

The nine sites are to be fully networked, with the Timmins & District Hospital acting as the central repository, housing the system's core archive and database. Full clinical deployment is expected by October 2002.


Medis Health and Pharmaceutical Services and its sister companies have changed their name to McKesson Canada. Since 1991, Medis has been a wholly owned subsidiary of McKesson Corp. of San Francisco.


Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc. (OCD) and Micro Typing Systems, Inc. (MTS), a leading manufacturer of blood bank serology tests for the North American market, recently announced that MTS has been acquired by OCD. MTS is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc. Located in Pompano Beach, Florida, MTS manufactures a line of reagents and supplies distributed instruments known as the ID-Micro Typing SystemTM (ID-MTS). ID-MTS is used in hospitals and donor centers to help to ensure safe and effective blood transfusions.


Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) an Internet-based healthcare trading exchange, and HealthPRO, Canada's largest healthcare group purchasing organization, have formed a strategic alliance to provide electronic commerce services to more than 378 HealthPRO healthcare institutions. This alliance will help maximize supply chain benefits by simplifying the product procurement process for HealthPRO members, and ultimately help to contain the cost of patient care.


Oracle Corporation, one of the world's largest enterprise software companies, and Per-Sé Technologies Inc., a provider of integrated business management outsourcing services, application software and Internet-enabled connectivity for the healthcare industry, have signed a strategic healthcare software development agreement which will see Per-Sé developing new application on the Oracle Healthcare Transaction Base.


Per-Sé Technologies, Inc. also announced that its Patient1® clinical information system received secondplace honors in the "Acute Care Comprehensive Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems" category of the Third Annual Toward an Electronic Patient Record (TEPR) Awards for 2002. The TEPR awards are presented by the U.S.-based Medical Records Institute for outstanding healthcare solutions.


More Transitions


In Prince Edward Island, Keith Dewar was recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of the new Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). The new health authority is being established as part of a health system restructuring initiative that will realign primary and secondary services in organizations dedicated to their complementary roles. The PHSA will include most provincial secondary acute, mental health and addictions services offered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Prince County Hospital, Hillsborough Hospital and the Provincial Addictions Facility. Responsibility for primary health and social services which prevent, reduce and manage health problems will remain with the four regional health authorities. Mr. Dewar has been vice-president of finance and human resources at Holland College since 1995, during which time he has played a key role in the evolution of the college. Prior to this, he worked as a director of finance, corporate and administrative services with the East Prince Health Region and the Prince County Hospital, and as a senior manager with KPMG, a national accounting and management consulting firm. (www.gov.pe.ca/news/index.php3)


Dr. Charlyn Black was appointed Director of the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research at the University of British Columbia, commencing on April 15, 2002. Previously, Dr. Black was Senior Researcher at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, and Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. She serves on a number committees including the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee on Health Services, the Canadian Population Health Initiative Council and the Steering Committee of the Western Canada Waiting List Study. Dr. Black has recently joined our Hospital Quarterly Editorial Advisory Board.


Trainer, consultant and author, Jane Watson is the new Chair of the GTA/905 Healthcare Alliance. Watson is the fourth person to hold the position of Alliance Chair since its inception in 1996 and succeeds outgoing chair, Gale Mossman. The Alliance is a group of eleven hospital corporations in the regions of Durham, Halton, Peel and York working for fairer healthcare funding on behalf of its growing population. The former Board Chair of The Credit Valley Hospital, Watson has also run her own consulting company for the past 18 years.


On June 25, North York General Hospital announced the appointment of Bonnie Adamson as their new President and CEO. For the four years prior to this appointment Mrs. Adamson was the first President and CEO of the Huron Perth Hospitals Partnership, an eight-hospital network in southwest Ontario. She held several Vice President positions from 1989 to 1998 at Victoria Hospital Corporation and London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario. At the University of Western Ontario she served from 1998 to 2001 as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, and then in 2001 was appointed Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences. In 1995 she was honored as a Fellow in the Canadian College of Health Services Executives and has been a Surveyor with the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation since 1994. Mrs. Adamson takes up her new position at North York General on August 19.


Hume Martin, former Chief Regional Officer and Executive Director of Alberta Children's Hospital: Calgary Regional Health Authority, took over as CEO of Rouge Valley Health System in July. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare administration. He joined the senior management team of North York General Hospital in 1982 and was appointed hospital president in 1986. Three years later, Martin left Toronto to become executive director of the Bermuda Hospitals Board, and in 1994 returned to Canada as CEO of the Essex County District Health Council, in Windsor.


Also in PEI, Philip Jost has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the West Prince Health Region. He will replace Ken Ezeard who retired recently. Mr. Jost has extensive healthcare management experience. For the past fifteen years, he has held senior positions in capital planning and administration, at the Victoria General Hospital and Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. Mr. Jost is currently Managing Director of NovaBrook eBusiness Solutions, a firm that specializes in computer and Internet business research consulting services. Most recently he held a leading position in the contract implementation of a major software facility assessment initiative of long-term care services for the Nova Scotia Department of Health. (www.gov.pe.ca/news/index.php3)


Mr. Leo Nicholas Steven has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Prior to this appointment Mr. Steven was President and Chief Executive Officer of William Osler Health Centre in Brampton since 1998. He is a former President and CEO of Etobicoke General Hospital and St. Joseph's Health Centre, as well as having worked for The Hospital for Sick Children. Mr. Steven has more than 30 years of hospital leadership experience. He is currently the Chair of the Board of the Ontario Hospital Association.


The Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS) announced on June 11, the appointment of Christina Bisanz as their new President and CEO. Most recently, Ms. Bisanz served as President and CEO of the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management. CACDS, whose members represent traditional chain drug stores and grocery chains and mass merchandisers with pharmacies, is the voice of community chain pharmacy in Canada.


On June 27, William Osler Health Centre announced the appointment of Mr. Robert Bell as their President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to this appointment Mr. Bell was a National Leader in Health Care and Life Sciences and Vice President for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Canada, a leading management consulting and IT services provider to healthcare and life sciences organizations. Mr. Bell's diverse management career spans over 30 years. He has chaired provincial committees for review of funding and resource allocation methods, as well as acted as adviser to provincial officials in reshaping the Ontario healthcare delivery system. Mr. Bell takes up his new position on August 6th.


On June 4, the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management (CAPDM) announced the re-appointment of Ron Frisch as Chairman of the Board for 2002/2003. Mr. Frisch is President, CEO and Managing Director of Kohl and Frisch Limited, one of Canada's largest distributors of healthcare products to pharmacies. CAPDM (formerly the Canadian Wholesale Drug Association) has a special focus on supply chain management. Members comprise full service pharmacy distributors, pharmaceutical, health and consumer product manufacturers and other organizations with an interest in the Canadian healthcare industry.


MEDEC, Canada's Medical Device Technology Companies, announced on June 6, the appointment of Kevin B. Higgins as Chair of their Board of Directors. Mr. Higgins is the Vice President of Health Care Markets for 3M Canada, a diversified, international company. 3M Health Care supplies more than 10,000 medical, surgical, consumer and home health care, dental and pharmaceutical products. He has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Hospital Quarterly since the publication of its inaugural issue in the Fall of 1997. MEDEC represents over 120 medical device and diagnostic companies whose members serve the healthcare community by the provision of high-quality medical products and services that benefit Canadians.


The Board of Directors of the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC) announced the appointments of Frank Lussing as Chair and Adam Topp as Vice Chair. Elected to the HIROC Board in May 1999, Mr. Lussing has served for two years as Chair on the Finance Committee as well as being a member of the Executive Committee and the Governance Task Force. Active in the healthcare system for 29 years, Mr. Lussing has held the position of President and CEO of York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ontario, for the past five and a half years, and he also Chairs a subcommittee of the Joint Policy and Planning Committee. Mr. Topp was elected to the HIROC Board in May 2000. He has served on the Finance Committee and for 2002/2003 he will continue to serve on the Governance Task Force as well as serve on the Executive Committee and the Claims and Risk Management Committee. Mr. Topp has been with Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto since 1994 and is currently Vice President Clinical Operations.


Mariana Catz has joined Canada Health Infoway as Vice President Knowledge Management / Transfer.


Providence Continuing Care Centre has appointed Dr. John Puxty as its first fulltime Chief of Staff, a position that covers its three sites: St. Mary's of the Lake Hospital in Kingston, Mental Health Services (formerly Kingston Psychiatric Hospital) and St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Brockville.


Jeffrey C. Lozon, President and CEO of St. Michael's Hospital, recently announced that John King, former Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, has joined St. Michael's executive management team as Executive Vice-President, Hospital Services. This appointment completes the executive management group at St. Michael's Hospital which consists of Mr. Lozon, Mr. King, Dr. Robert Howard, Executive Vice-President, Programs, Education and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patricia Petryshen, Executive Vice-President, Programs, Hospital Relations and Chief Nursing Officer, as well as the Chair of the hospital's Medical Advisory Committee, a term position which is currently held by Dr. Philip Berger. St. Michael's, in downtown Toronto, is a teaching and research hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, specializing in heart and vascular disease, inner city health, trauma/neurosurgery, diabetes comprehensive care, minimal access therapeutics, and mobility disorders.


Gillian Howard has accepted the position of Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications with the University Health Network effective September 16. Ms. Howard will be replacing Gloria Bishop who is retiring. Prior to taking this position, Ms. Howard was Director of Corporate Communications at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. University Health Network is comprised of Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital.


Ken Deane will be the new President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital and Villa Maria in Windsor, Ontario. He leaves his position as Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Hamilton Health Sciences and takes up his new position effective September 16. Mr. Deane has 22 years experience in hospital administration and a solid understanding of teaching and community hospitals.


Dr. Patrick McGrath, a former Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Psychologist known internationally for his work in paediatric pain, has been awarded an Order of Canada. Dr. McGrath is now with the Department of Psychology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Microsoft will step up its support to the healthcare sector. Barb Alexander - already well known to healthcare and also Public Sector Manager for Western Canada will head up this initiative reporting to Bob Binns in Mississauga. Bob is a well established IT strategist with a background including Ecommerce solutions such as MERX and e-Post.ca.


The National Cancer Institute of Canada has appointed Dr. Anthony Fields as President, effective June 14 for a two-year term. Dr. Fields is a distinguished oncologist and a senior cancer agency administrator. He is a Professor in the Department of Oncology and Medicine at the University of Alberta and Vice President of Medical Affairs and Community Oncology at the Alberta Cancer Board. Prior to this appointment, he served as Director of Alberta's Cross Cancer Institute, an internationally recognized cancer treatment and research centre.

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