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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English Posts

Think you’re special? Then be a purple cow!

If you want a great example of an author who practices what he preaches, look no further than Seth Godin. In his book, The Purple Cow, which I found intriguing and engrossing, he argues that in order for one’s product to stand out, it needs to be perceived as being something special. In other words, it needs to be portrayed as an eye-popping purple cow in a field of brown, black and white cows. So what did Godin do? He marketed the first, self-published edition of The Purple Cow—which eventually became a best seller—by packaging it in a milk carton …

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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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