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Merck Patients First Awards
Merck Patients First Awards were presented in 2013 and 2014/15. The 2017/18 competition followed a similar process, including formal communications and publication of winning entries (with consent) to support sharing of best practices in patient-centred care.
 

Nominations selected for an award were contacted in January 2018. Congratulations to the following award recipients:

  • Ontario, Ajax Harwood Clinic (AHC), An Innovative Patient Medical Home at AHC
  • Ontario, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Patients and families advancing care improvements
  • Ontario, Dr. Les Kalman, Redefining Dental Outreach in Southwestern Ontario
  • Quebec, Mr. Alexandre Chagnon, Finally available to patients on the Internet!
  • Quebec, Dr. Tarek Hijal, Dr. John Kildea and Prof. Laurie Hendren, Opal: an Oncology Portal and Application
  • Quebec, Dr. François Lamontagne, Rethinking patient care - together
  • Atlantic / Northwest Territories, Dr. Christine Chambers, It Doesn't Have to Hurt - Easing Kids' Pain

With their permission, winners' stories will be published on this website as well as other Merck channels, including social media.

 

Ontario

Ajax Harwood Clinic

For the Ajax Harwood Clinic in Ajax, Ontario, healthcare is much more than a doctor’s appointment

The clinic (https://ajaxharwoodclinicblog.wordpress.com) delivers accessible, inclusive and sustainable patient-centred care through collaboration, innovation and empowerment of patients, caregivers and learners.

Learn more about the Ajax Harwood Clinic’s story
For the Ajax Harwood Clinic in Ajax, Ontario, healthcare is much more than a doctor’s appointment

The Ajax Harwood Clinic (https://ajaxharwoodclinicblog.wordpress.com) just east of Toronto is delivering accessible, inclusive and sustainable patient-centred care through collaboration, innovation, and empowerment of patients, caregivers and learners.

The clinic is specifically designed and furnished to encourage collaborative care and empowerment. It features a large community room, a teaching conference room for group activities and has additional space for other healthcare providers such as mental health workers. Health and wellness group medical appointments, as well as patient programs for managing chronic disease and wellness promotion, are routinely offered..

Technology, such as electronic medical records, helps the healthcare team share information while the Internet and social media (https://www.facebook.com/ajaxharwoodclinic/) are used to inform, educate and motivate patients. Even the waiting room is as an opportunity to communicate, where TV screens present information that reflects the medical needs of the clinic’s patients. Ajax Harwood Clinic is a real patient medical home for so many.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Family Leadership Program ensures care is patient-centred

The Family Leadership Program at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, ON, (https://www.hollandbloorview.ca) enables children, youth and families to co-design: governance and policy frameworks; programs and services; and, research that advances patient and family-centred care.

Learn more about the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s story
Family Leadership Program listens to patients and improves care

An innovative program at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Ontario (https://www.hollandbloorview.ca) is continuously advancing care and transforming the field of patient and family engagement. The Family Leadership Program enables children, youth and families to partner fully with the hospital and the Bloorview Research Institute to co-design governance and policy frameworks, programs and services, as well research that advances patient and family-centred care.

The program consists of more than 170 volunteer child, youth and family leaders who’ve participated in 183 special projects, initiatives and committees in 2016-17. Their time, energy and expertise guide and influence hospital improvements. Through the Children’s Advisory Council, for example, clients and their children as young as three years old partner with the hospital to shape the organization’s quality improvement plan so that it reflects their needs and preferences.

Convinced that things can always be better through partnership and collaboration, Holland Bloorview has simply made things better for patients and for their families.

Dr. Les Kalman

Dental program is something to smile about

Dr. Les Kalman, Assistant Professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in London, Ontario, is leading a volunteer-based program that provides free dentistry to those with minimal economic means. Many patients in southwestern Ontario can smile again because of Dr. Kalman’s passion and dedication to patient-centred care. Dr. Kalman and the DOCS program (https://www.schulich.uwo.ca/about/community_programs/docs.html) are privileged to have the generous support from all the amazing volunteers!

Learn more about Dr. Kalman’s story
Dental program is something to smile about

Dr. Les Kalman, Assistant Professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in London, Ontario, is leading a volunteer-based program that provides free dentistry to those with challenging economic circumstances. DOCS, Dental Outreach and Community Services (https://www.schulich.uwo.ca/about/community_programs/docs.html), is a massive collaborative effort with community-based resource centres, industry partners and volunteers . The outreach program is now a mandatory component of the 4th year dental curriculum at Western, and since the program was implemented in 2011, the program has served more than 1600 patients who otherwise would not have received dental care.

DOCS was established with the patient’s best interest in mind, providing the best possible treatment without judgement or prejudice. The program operates with a mobile dental clinic that travels to various communities. A unique reciprocal community-based learning outreach model brings students and volunteer staff into the community, then patients to the university. Dr. Kalman maintains the program’s outreach aspect, to provide patients accessibility and familiarity. Many patients in southwestern Ontario can smile again because of Dr. Kalman’s passion and dedication to patient-centred care. Dr. Kalman and the DOCS program are privileged to have the generous support from all the amazing volunteers!

 

Quebec

Mr. Alexandre Chagnon

Québec-based pharmacist Alexandre Chagnon is the founder of questionpourunpharmacien.com, a secure website where patients can obtain free, reliable advice about their health and medications.

Learn more about Alexandre's story here
Fighting fake news with personalized patient advice

Québec-based pharmacist Alexandre Chagnon is the founder of questionpourunpharmacien.com, a secure website where patients can obtain free, reliable advice about their health and medications. Thanks to his leadership and initiative, he’s attracted a team of more than 150 pharmacists from across Québec, who together have already carried out over 1,000 online consultations, allowing more than 22,000 patients to obtain reliable, confidential online health information.

The website developed by Mr. Chagnon, questionpourunpharmacien.com, was built based on an analysis of patients’ browsing habits when searching for online health information. The goal was simple: to help as many patients as possible and be as responsive as possible to their needs. So far, the pharmacists registered on the site have received questions from patients aged 14 to 90. The addition of a Facebook page also gives Alexandre another way to reach people: https://www.facebook.com/qpupharmacien/.

These results attracted the attention of the Canadian Pharmacists Association, which invited Alexandre to present the website during the 2017 Innovation Showcase. The Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec also awarded him the Prix Innovation 2017, one of the highest honours a Quebec pharmacist can receive.

Dr. Tarek Hijal, Dr. John Kildea and Prof. Laurie Hendren

Opal connects oncology patients, caregivers and each other

Opal (http://www.opalmedapps.com/), the brainchild of Dr. Tarek Hijal, Dr. John Kildea and Prof. Laurie Hendren, empowers and informs oncology patients at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, QC, allowing patients to access to their medical file, personalized educational material, appointment schedules and more.

Learn more about the Opal story
Opal connects oncology patients, caregivers and each other

Opal (http://www.opalmedapps.com/), an e-health app developed by Dr. Tarek Hijal, Dr. John Kildea and Prof. Laurie Hendren, empowers and informs oncology patients at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, QC. Patients using the app can access their clinical notes and lab test results as well as personalized educational material, appointment schedules and a real-time waiting-room management tool. It also allows patients to fill out symptom and satisfaction questionnaires online, which helps their healthcare team provide better and more timely care.

Opal is a comprehensive app that is unique in a number of different ways: it was developed with a patient co-leading the healthcare team; it allows patients and professionals to see the same data and make decisions together; it encourages patients to actively participate in their care by providing symptom questionnaires and visualizations; it is integrated with a waiting room management system; and, it automatically personalizes patient educational material according to their diagnosis and stage of treatment. The development team is currently working on a caregiver version of Opal that will allow patients to share their data with caregivers. As always, the Opal team are practicing what has become their trademark–patient-centered software development.

Dr. Francois Lamontagne

Dr. François Lamontagne is improving patient care in the ICU

Dr. François Lamontagne, a physician practising in Sherbrooke, Quebec, is rethinking “what is” and determining “what should be,” so that, moving forward, routine medical acts are based on scientific evidence. He takes a patient-centred, multidisciplinary approach to everything that takes place in the ICU.

Learn more about Dr. Lamontagne’s story
Dr. François Lamontagne is improving patient care in the ICU

There is still progress to be made in the area of acute care, and Dr. François Lamontagne, a physician in Sherbrooke, Quebec, is determined to improve things. He is rethinking “what is” and determining “what should be,” so that, moving forward, routine medical acts are based on scientific evidence of what are, in fact, the best practices. In doing so, he takes a patient-centred, multidisciplinary approach to everything that takes place in the ICU.

Dr. Lamontagne’s approach is built on respect for the patient’s dignity, and consists in providing appropriate, personalized care while involving the patient and their family in the care process. Dr. Lamontagne has published extensively on this subject in scientific journals. Over the past five years, he has produced more than 88 peer-reviewed articles and commentaries, including several as the first or last author, and all of which were published in prestigious journals such as The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Lamontagne is a man of conviction who always puts his patients first.

 

Atlantic / Northwest Territories

Dr. Christine Chambers

It Doesn’t Have to Hurt uses social media to reduce kids’ pain

Halifax-based Dr. Christine Chambers uses social media and partnerships with parents and digital media experts to help ease kids pain. Her It Doesn't Have to Hurt initiative (http://itdoesnthavetohurt.ca) has already reached over 100 million worldwide.

Learn more about Dr. Chambers’ story
It Doesn’t Have to Hurt uses social media to reduce kids’ pain

As a child psychologist, pediatric pain researcher and the mother of four young children, Dr. Christine Chambers knew that poorly managed pain is a serious and ongoing health problem for kids, resulting in unnecessary suffering and long-term negative effects. The Halifax-based physician launched the It Doesn't Have to Hurt social media initiative ( http://itdoesnthavetohurt.ca ) and engaged partners so she could quickly reach millions of patients through their parents to offer practical tips for reducing pain. Rather than relying solely on more traditional knowledge dissemination, which have limited reach and effects, It Doesn't Have to Hurt generated over 130 million content views worldwide in just 12 months.

Dr. Chambers’ story illustrates the powerful impact of focusing on real patient needs in research by engaging patients and partners, and then using the best tools and partnerships available to make sure patients benefit from the results of research as soon as possible. No doubt there are many kids and concerned moms and dads who are grateful for her innovative thinking and empowering them with the knowledge they need to make sure it doesn’t hurt. That helps.

Things can be better in Canadian health care!

The Merck Patients First Awards and the innovations and innovators they honour will contribute to an improved health care system by recognizing patient-centred care as a priority.

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