Patients at the heart of the Institute’s decisions


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This article is adapted from the second edition of the Foundation’s magazine

Mélanie La Couture, President and CEO of the Montreal Heart Institute explains how the Institute is positioning itself for the years to come.

“The Institute’s ecosystem is a unique one. There are very few places where different teams dedicated to research, care, prevention, and training work in such close collaboration,” said Ms. La Couture. These four pillars nurture each other for the ultimate benefit of the patient who is at the core of everything the Institute does and who is central to its vision.

The future of the Investing in Excellence program

For the CEO of the Institute, putting the patient at the heart of decisions means enhancing the spaces that will improve the care they receive as well as their overall experience. This is the main goal of the Investing in Excellence program which was launched in 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in 2022. More than $225 million have been invested to create a Centre for training and excellence in cardiovascular health, to modernize the emergency department, and to build two floors for patient rooms as well as an underground parking lot. “This new building is beautiful, pleasant to be in, and very well lit. But most importantly, it is equipped with cutting-edge technology,” said Ms. La Couture who was also the Foundation’s Executive Director from 2013 to 2017.

The project will also enable the Institute to offer outpatient medical services. The goal: provide more services to more patients, not just those who occupy one of the 153 beds at the hospital. Furthermore, rooms for hospitalized patients are nearly all single occupancy. Rooms that are not new will be renovated. “Everything is designed with the patient in mind,” added Ms. La Couture.

The patient as a partner

These renovations are part of a new vision the Institute has embraced: the patient as a partner. In fact, the MHI’s Patient Partner program aims to involve the patient in every aspect of their health care treatment. “We want to obtain the patient’s perspective or their loved one’s perspective to improve the care we deliver. We’re open to all recommendations.” This approach has been proven to benefit the patient’s physical, psychological, and overall well-being.

Personalizing treatments

In addition to putting the patient at the heart of the Institute’s vision, health care teams are committed to delivering treatments tailored to each patient’s individual characteristics. This is known as personalized medicine. Ms. La Couture is proud of the research that has been done, specifically at the Institute which is a pioneer of the field. “We’ve been investing in personalized medicine for over a decade and it is an approach that our professionals have already adopted. We continue to pursue our research in this area, specifically in genetics. In fact, we’re at a point where we are personalizing prevention to ensure that recommendations are adapted to each individual.” As an example, in a near future it will be possible to prevent a cardiac event before it even occurs.

According to Ms. La Couture, the success of the Institute is thanks in large part to its hyperspecialized and dedicated teams who are committed to innovation. But it is also thanks to donors: “Major institutions thrive because they can depend on a community of philanthropists who are in essence a dedicated family. That’s what enables projects to succeed.” This family is the fifth pillar that contributes to the strength of the other four.

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