The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) today announced that Bell Canada has contributed $10 million to the two Montreal-based university-affiliated hospitals through their respective foundations. The funds will be used to create a Youth Telehealth Centre, which will be operated jointly by the two university-affiliated hospitals. The centre will include a training and test centre that will help medical professionals deliver health care to youth across Quebec. Bell Canada is the first company to commit funds to a joint MUHC-CHUM corporate capital campaign that will be launched this fall.
"This contribution comes as Bell celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2005 and focuses its efforts on giving back to the communities in which it has operated for over a century," said Michael Sabia, CEO, Bell Canada. "We are all connected to the communities in which we live and work, and Bell is proud to help these two Montreal institutions, and their medical practitioners, connect with Quebec families regardless of where they live in the province."
The creation, implementation and operation of this centre is in keeping with the Quebec government's and the Ministry of Health and Social Services' wish to see increased collaboration and complementarity between the CHUM and the MUHC. Therefore, roles and responsibilities will be shared according to the mandates and expertise of each organization.
The MUHC, through the Montreal Children's Hospital, will lead the Youth Telehealth Centre sub-project. Through Bell's investment, a comprehensive technological infrastructure will be implemented, enabling medical professionals to share their expertise and provide long-distance care in such areas of intervention as pediatric oncology, neonatology and obstetrics, among others.
"Telehealth's potential is vast, not only in terms of scope but also geography. In essence, patients — regardless of where they live — can receive the care they need through expertise provided through a virtual hospital," explained Dr. Arthur T. Porter, Director General and CEO, MUHC. "This investment in telehealth is clearly consistent with the mission of the two Montreal university health centres. Because of this donation from Bell Canada, we will be able to dramatically improve our capacity to extend our care to much larger regions of Quebec. But to optimize telehealth, training and testing is essential," added Dr. Porter.
Bell Canada's donation will also serve to implement a state-of-the-art training and test centre. The CHUM will be leading this sub-project. Through this facility, telehealth services will be simulated and tested before their implementation, ensuring robustness and reliability.
"To provide benefits, health care professionals must be trained in a very comprehensive way, particularly when biomedical devices are used in a remote location during a patient intervention. Clinicians have to become experts in the use of this technology so that they can concentrate on providing the needed care. It is also essential to experiment and test extensively not only the equipment but also their integration so that no technical problems occur during a telehealth session," stated Dr. Denis R. Roy, Director General, CHUM.
The Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) provides specialized and subspecialized services to a regional and supraregional clientele. Within its more immediate coverage area, it also offers general and specialized hospital care and services. All of these services contribute to teaching, research, the assessment of technologies and health care methodologies, which are provided within integrated networks. The CHUM also contributes to promoting health in continuity with front-line services.
Hôtel-Dieu, Hôpital Notre-Dame and Hôpital Saint-Luc form the CHUM, which counts 10,000 employees, 900 physicians, 330 researchers, 5,000 students and trainees, and 800 volunteers, who provide services to more than 500,000 patients each year.
About the MUHC
The MUHC is one of North America's most comprehensive academic health centres. It is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with McGill University — the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria and Montreal Neurological hospitals and the Montreal Chest Institute. The MUHC, whose clinical missions are pediatrics, women's health, neurosciences, mental health, medicine and surgery, sees over one million patients each year.
About Bell Canada
Bell Canada, Canada's national leader in communications, provides connectivity to residential and business customers through wired and wireless voice and data communications, local and long distance telephone services, high speed and wireless Internet access, IP/broadband services, e-business solutions and satellite television services. Bell Canada is wholly owned by BCE Inc.