Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 3(2) December 1999 : 12-16.doi:10.12927/hcq.1999.20582

Quarterly Change


A team from the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montrèal (CHUM) has developed an automated arm which, with the help of a high-resolution camera installed at the end of this arm, facilitates viewing of surgical procedures. Attached to the ceiling and connected to a computer, the automated arm pivots like the hand of a clock, becoming longer or shorter as needed, to film the operation in progress. Compared to other methods of filming, this represents a significant improvement in the field of telemedicine. Three CHUM surgeons were the first to use the system. They are a team specialized in advanced laparoscopy, led by Dr. Patrice Lamoureux, working in collaboration with Drs. Richard Ratelle and Stephan Busque.

Teaching in the operating room presents several difficulties including: the inadequate view of the operating field and of surgical procedures and an increased risk of infection for the patient. Thanks to this arm, residents can now follow the surgical operation from any of CHUM's three hospitals. Moreover, this arm will facilitate remote surgical consultations.

For more information contact: Gérard Cellier, Communications Department (CHUM) Tel: (514) 843-2611, local 5380 Pager: (514) 860-7110

Bernard Lord, Premier of New Brunswick, has created a 14- member HEALTH QUALITY COUNCIL which will be chaired by Michel Leger, chair of Beausejour Hospital Corporation. Over the next two years, the Council will work with government to develop a governance system for regional health authorities and regional health boards, oversee the development and implementation of system-wide report cards, quality standards and performance measures, and help develop a Patients' Charter of Rights and Responsibilities.

Health Canada has made a number of significant appointments in recent months:

  • PHILIP WADDINGTON has been named Executive Director of the Office of Natural Health Products. A practicing naturopathic doctor, Mr. Waddington also holds an MBA and a BSc. The Office of Natural Health Products was established by Health Canada to provide advice in this growing area.
  • DR. JEFFREY WIGAND, an internationally recognized public health advocate who once was head of research for a U.S. tobacco company, has been appointed Special Advisor to Health Canada. He will work with the Department on tobacco control strategies and provide expert advice on nicotine and addiction issues.
  • DAVID KELLY, former Deputy Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Culture for British Columbia, has been named Senior Advisor to the Deputy Minister for the next two years under the Government of Canada Executive Interchange Program. Mr. Kelly has held a variety of positions related to public health including Deputy Minister of Health in British Columbia.

A palliative care pilot project in PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND is looking at ways to improve care in rural areas. Funded by the federal Health Transition Fund, the project's goal is to improve palliative care in rural communities by understanding the needs of patients and caregivers, providing easier access to palliative care in the home, and increasing awareness and knowledge of palliative care among patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers. Based on feedback from project participants, educational programs will be developed for home care, long-term care and hospital staff as well as physicians, pharmacists, volunteers and clergy involved in palliative care.

Regional health authorities and other hospital boards in ALBERTA have been given authority by provincial government to allow midwives and other non-physicians to admit patients to hospital. Amendments to provincial regulation removed operational barriers preventing a range of non-physicians, including midwives, chiropractors and podiatrists, from holding privileges in hospitals.

The B. C. MINISTRY OF HEALTH is testing the benefits of giving medical practices access to the province's pharmacy computer network to help doctors in prescribing medication for their patients. The six-month pilot project will extend access to patients' prescription drugs profiles on PharmaNet to up to 100 physicians' medical practices in B.C. PharmaNet, a computer network linking all community pharmacies, was introduced in 1995. In 1997, medical staff in hospital emergency rooms were also given access to the network.

In Newfoundland, ROGER GRIMES was appointed Minister of Health and Community Services in January. First elected to the House of Assembly in 1989, he has held a variety of appointments, the most recent of which was Minister of Mines and Energy.

KATHLEEN MCMILLAN, former president of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario was appointed to the newly created position of Chief Nursing Officer for Ontario.

Nova Scotia's QUEEN ELIZABETH II HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE has released its first report card which found that patient satisfaction is high - 82% of outpatients rated their case as very good or excellent. However, staff morale is not as positive with many employees not feeling valued or believing that management was following a clear strategic direction. Administrative costs have been lowed from 10.5% of the budget last year to 7.5%.

Montreal's MCGILL UNIVERSITY HEALTH CENTRE (MUHC), a proposed $850- million facility which would replace the Royal Victoria, Montreal General, Montreal Children's and Montreal Neurological hospitals, has received the support of Quebec Health Minister Pauline Marois. The MUHC had also been looking for a financial commitment, however, the government has asked for more planning to be completed first.

The Winnipeg Hospital Authority and the Winnipeg Community and Long-term Care Authority officially merged on December 1, 1999. DR. BRIAN POSTL, former vicepresident of clinical services for the hospital authority was named CEO of the new Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

The Chair of the Board of Trustees at University Health Network (UHN), has confirmed the appointment of MR. TOM R. CLOSSON as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of UHN. Currently President and CEO of the Capital Health Region in Victoria, B.C., Mr. Closson is well-known and respected in Toronto as the former President and CEO of Sunnybrook Health Science Centre (now Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre) from 1995-98.

JIM SAUNDERS, former CEO of Alberta's Health Resources Group Inc., has accepted a sixmonth appointment as CEO of the Regina Health District, replacing Glenn Bartlett who resigned the position in October.

The electronic CHILD HEALTH NETWORK (eCHN), a telehealth network developed by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and IBM, recently received an award of excellence from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. The eCHN network consists of three websites that disseminate different levels of information for patients, families, healthcare practitioners, researchers and educators. (

A POST-GRADUATE TELE-TRIAGE NURSING PROGRAM which is being developed at Toronto's Centennial College has received strong support from a number of public and private sector groups including the Richard Ivey Foundation, Clinidata Corp., Learn Ontario, the University of Ottawa and the University of Quebec at Hull. The program will focus on call centre technology, triage techniques, practice issues and standards, protocol design, medico-legal issues and informatics.

The CAPITAL HEALTH REGION'S ROYAL JUBILEE site has become the first hospital in Western Canada to install a leadingedge heart-mapping unit. The Biosense NOGA System helps cardiac specialists identify detailed information on the viability of the heart muscle, representing a significant improvement over angiography. Equipped with tiny sensors, the unit's NOGA catheter enables heart specialists to acquire detailed three-dimensional maps of the left ventricle of the heart. As a diagnostic tool, NOGA cardiac mapping may virtually eliminate the need for multiple costly and time-consuming tests. The Biosense NOGA Unit is distributed by Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson company operated by Johnson & Johnson Medical Products. For more information contact: Jhane Brasier, Manager, Communications, Johnson & Johnson, 1-800-642-6748 ext. 4455.

The Royal Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa recently opened the INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH which will study job stress in high technology companies in the Ottawa area, as well as conducting clinical trials of alternate therapies such as prayer, medication, herbs and electromagnets in the treatment of mental illness.

In December, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) released HOSPITAL REPORT '99: A BALANCED SCORECARD FOR ONTARIO ACUTE CARE HOSPITALS. Initiated and funded by the OHA and prepared by a University of Toronto research team, the report includes results of one of the largest patient satisfaction surveys in North America, representing the views of 26,000 individuals who received inpatient acute care services in Ontario in the spring of 1999.

The Report provides a comparison of Ontario hospitals in four key areas that reflect a balanced scorecard: financial performance, patient satisfaction, clinical utilization and outcomes, and system integration and change. Hospital participation in the project was voluntary and 89 hospitals took part, representing 91% of acute care activity in the province.

More information and copies of the report can be found on the OHA website at:

CLINIDATA CORP, a health management company based in London, Ontario, has been awarded a contact to provide toll-free, 24-hour-a-day health information services over the telephone for approximately 60,000 people in the Department of National Defence (DND). The two-year contract is part of a re-organization of the military's healthcare system. The purpose of the new telephone toll-free services is to improve overall access to healthcare for Canadian Forces personnel. Healthcare for military personnel is not covered by provincial governments, however, access to civilian healthcare providers will be made available through the program with medical costs being reimbursed to the provinces by the DND.

The service will be provided out of Clinidata's Health Call Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick. Assisted by special tele-triage software, nurses at Clinidata will be handling health-related questions from Canadian Forces personnel anywhere in the country. Based on the symptoms they are given, nurses will advise the caller to go to the nearest emergency department, contact the nearest doctor, visit a walk-in clinic or simply follow the nurse's self-care instructions. For more information contact: Laurie Poole, Business Development Manager, Clinidata at (416) 203-0450.


Hospital Quarterly was pleased to support the annual Best Practices display sponsored by the Ontario Hospital Association at its convention in November. In cooperation with our sponsors - Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Johnson and Johnson Medical Products, 3M, Aramark Canada, Clinidata, Agilent Technologies, MDS Laboratory Services, and the Canadian Association of Japanese Automobile Dealers - we were able to recognize the originality, innovation and practical application of eight of the Best Practices projects displayed. Recipients were recognized at the closing session of the convention where it was announced that the Award of Excellence went to London Health Sciences Centre for its work in networking hospitals throughout southwestern Ontario.

Kevin Higgins, Executive Director, 3M HEALTHCARE Markets, presents the Best Practices award to Jocelyn Garrett, Director Marketing and Community Relations, and Alan Greve, President & Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton for their new "Centre for Minimal Access Surgery."

Linda Shirley, Vice President and General Manager of ORTHO-CLINICAL DIAGNOSTICS presents the Best Practices award to Tony Dagnone, President and Chief Executive Officer of London Health Sciences Centre.

Peter Goodhand, Vice President Corporate Marketing Services and Business Development for JOHNSON & JOHNSON MEDICAL PRODUCTS prepares to present the Best Practices award to the William Osler Health Centre in Brampton for the project "Supporting Patients with Respiratory Disease Along the Continuum of Care."

Aramark Canada has appointed MICHAEL A. FERADAY as National Director, Marketing, Healthcare Support Services. Susan Barclay from Aramark - familiar to many in the healthcare industry - is presently attending the London School of Economics.

SASKATCHEWAN has launched a major telephone survey aimed at gathering data on the health of Saskatchewan's population and perceptions of the healthcare system. Research teams from the University of Saskatoon and the University of Regina are collaborating in the project which will contact 7,000 residents.

DR. PETER GLYNN, President and CEO of Kingston General Hospital, was recently elected the new Chair of the Board of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). Dr. Glynn replaces Dr. John Evans who has been the chair since ICES' inception in 1992.


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