Continuing a long history of collaboration, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) and Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) have announced a new partnership that will expand research activities focused on improving patient care and clinical outcomes.
“As our region’s population rapidly grows over the next decade, RVH and GBGH want to be at the forefront of health system innovation,” says Gail Hunt, RVH P resident and CEO. “Sharing knowledge and expanding the depth and breadth of our research programs will help our hospitals find better ways to solve many of the challenges we face today, particularly those that need to be solved at a community level.”
While the partnership will initially focus on developing a joint framework for streamlining procedures, training, and ideas, GBGH can immediately leverage existing resources provided by the RVH Research Institute, a well established, research facility within RVH, comprised of research teams and a world class research ethics board.
“Given RVH’s size and regional scope, a partnership of this nature means GBGH can further expand our research and education resources to support our clinicians in delivering excellent care for the residents of North Simcoe,” says Matthew Lawson, GBGH P resident and CEO. “By investing in strong relationships that maximize our collective expertise, we hope more of our patients will be able to access new drugs, devices, or other treatment app roaches which will improve their quality of care and outcomes.”
With the region experiencing rapid population growth and aging, issues that are common to RVH and GBGH today, such as chronic illness, wait times, and staffing shortages, are expected to increase as the need for specialized medical care rises.
Simply focusing on the clinical aspects of care may not be enough to address these challenges.
“We’re at a pivotal time in healthcare,” says Dr. Paige Churchill, GBGH Chief of Surgery. “A broad set of social and economic factors are having a big impact on both equitable access to care and community health outcomes. There’s an urgent need for communities across the region to not only work closely together to tackle urgent health issues, but to apply research and innovative thinking to drive and communicate scientifically credible evidence that the changes we’re making are indeed benefiting patients, their families, and our staff.”
Dr. Christiaan Stevens, RVH radiation oncologist (left), and Dr. Muoi Tran, RVH medical physicist (right), regularly conduct new research to improve the precision and efficiency of radiation therapy for patients with cancer. Here, they perform calibration tests on one of RVH’s linear accelerators, a machine used to destroy or damage cancer cells.
As hospitals face increasingly more complex pressures, both RVH and GBGH hope this venture will evolve to include other hospitals and community partners, particularly as new digital technologies emerge for testing and validation, including artificial intelligence, precision medicine, wearables, robotics, 3D printing, and immersive reality.
“A strong applied health research network would become a catalyst for investment and discovery,” says Dr. Giulio DiDiodato, RVH critical care physician and Chief Research Scientist. “When more hospitals collaborate, they create diverse environments that make it easier for academic and industry partners, as well as local innovators, entrepreneurs, and growing businesses, to turn their ideas into practical solutions, ultimately contributing to a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable region.”