You have been at the helm of the CRCHUM for 5 years now. What’s your assessment of the research centre’s progress and its integration with the hospital?

- Dr Vincent Poitout (VP) - We’ve come a long way in 5 years. Bringing the research teams together at a single site has fostered cross-fertilization among fields of expertise and has made it possible to share access to cutting-edge equipment. In addition to this important synergy, there’s the ability to attract talent, related in part to the quality of our facilities, which now puts us on equal footing with internationally renowned institutions. The desire of the management to incorporate innovation and research into hospital activities has also allowed us to show how valuable research is for population health and health care.

- Dr Fabrice Brunet (FB) - The vision of research as a factor in the improvement of population health has been manifested in two ways: first, by increasing research quality and relevance and secondly by ensuring that the results of this research are quickly and directly applied to prove its value. This vision is in perfect alignment and synergy with that of the establishment.

Innovation in the field of health, especially through artificial intelligence, is central to our organization’s values and actions. Where do we stand today with respect to the wider Canadian landscape?

FB We have to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) to change our ways of thinking and acting. Our corporate and integrative vision of AI is our assurance that it will be used relevantly to improve our performance and the health of our citizens. To support this vision, we created the School of Artificial Intelligence in Health. Unrivalled worldwide, this school is our guarantee of the social acceptability of our AI projects and their application for the benefit of the public. It’s a good example of the research and innovation process through which discussions, partnerships, and collective intelligence provide answers to the challenges facing our organizations by involving all actors in the ecosystem.

During 2018, you paid special attention to initiatives such as CITADEL, the Therapeutic Innovation Unit, and Innove-Action. How will these initiatives lead to positive impacts for our patients?

VP Our Innovation Hub is already speeding up the process of applying knowledge to patient care and to health policies. In an era of big data, CITADEL gives us real-time access to information and facilitates decision-making in all our hospital activities. As for the Unit for Innovative Therapies, it allows patients whose treatment has failed to access new treatments, particularly in oncology.

FB With Innove-Action, the CHUM acts as a catalyst for ideas and shares its innovations for redesigning health care systems, both at home and abroad. How can we go beyond our walls; how can we make sure that patients benefit from proper health care once they go home? Redesigning the health care system doesn’t mean changing our day-to-day procedures, but rather choosing to support our patients as they live their lives. To more quickly demonstrate patient benefits, we established the SERGIP barometer (care, teaching, research, management, innovation, patients), which ensures that all these dimensions become an integral part of our activities.

Generating new knowledge guarantees international exposure for organizations like ours. How can we ensure that we’ll still be able to create knowledge in the future?

FB To meet the changing needs of the population, the research centre has chosen to have its teams concentrate on themes that answer questions asked by our patients. And we will continue in this same direction. This is one of the keys to generating new knowledge.

VP Knowledge that, most importantly, must be useful. So we need to be agile, to have the best experts who stay abreast of the latest developments and are able to quickly mobilize their knowledge or implement new ways of doing things. Our role is to provide them with the infrastructures and environment that allow them to remain leaders in their fields.

Research Centre of CHUM 2018-2019 Activity Report