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Sudbury Regional to boost research, use of technology

SUDBURY, Ont. – The new CEO of the Sudbury Regional Hospital wants to transform the centre into a top Canadian research facility. “I do believe we can be the Harvard of Canada,” Denis-Richard Roy (pictured) told Greater Sudbury Development Corporation board members at a meeting in February.

Dr. Roy took over as chief of the Sudbury hospital in January. He was previously CEO of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) from 2002 to 2008.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Roy has held numerous leadership positions with McGill University Health Centre, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal Thoracic Institute and the Centre hospitalier régional de l’Outaouais.

“Academia is a force of will,” he said. “If the university and hospital changed their perspective ... It will see the hospital move on its way to being a true academic centre.”

Dr. Roy said he wants the hospital’s focus to shift from beds to research, transforming it into academic health sciences centre heavy on research, but with fewer patients and shorter stay times. “I can tell you with certainty the future of medicine is not in beds: it is in technology,” he said. “I believe we have enough beds.

“If the status of our alternate level of care (ALC) patients is managed, ALC patients are better cared for in an appropriate setting and the hospital is not an appropriate setting.

“Instead of funding beds, we should look at investments in day hospitals. I can envision a geriatric day hospital, a diabetic day hospital. I would not build any more additional beds. The experience over time is that if we build more beds, you end up with more ALC patients.”

ALC patients are people who need nursing home care, but have nowhere to go and so wind up in hospital.

Roy noted Sudbury Regional Hospital is now the city’s second-largest employer, having added 1,000 jobs since 2001 to bring it to 3,000-3,200 employees, and doubled its budget to $365 million.

Healthcare institutions and physicians across the community, he added, represent a collective $500 million impact on the local economy and 14,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

“Consider the impact research would bring to this equation,” he said. The hospital also assists the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s Greater Sudbury campus at Laurentian University with the teaching of its students.

“I want to take the hospital from an institution which is moderately involved in teaching with a limited focus to a research centre in a bigger environment,” said Dr. Roy.

Posted February 25, 2010