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New cancer partnership lauded

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s cancer program has been selected by Cancer Care Ontario, an agency of the Ontario government and the government’s cancer advisor, to host parts of its Quality Assurance Services Team in Information Technology Development Services.

The new partnership will mean new development and software testing opportunities in information systems to ensure the quality of CCO solutions used within the cancer system.

It also will mean six new permanent jobs in Thunder Bay.

Partners also include Regional Cancer Care Northwest, along with the Business Development Team at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI), Province of Ontario, City of Thunder Bay’s Community Economic Development Commission, Lakehead University, and Confederation College.

“This new partnership between TBRHSC and CCO will enhance our development and software testing of information management solutions in cancer care,” said Rick Skinner, vice-president and chief information officer at Cancer Care Ontario.

“This is also an opportunity to collaborate with our regional partners,” he noted. “We also know we can recruit and retain very good Quality Assurance staff in Thunder Bay.”

The CCO Northwest office will house part of CCO’s Quality Assurance Services Team (a team comprised of IT professionals).

CCO is considering a further strengthening of its new IT office in Thunder Bay over the next few years.

Michael Power, regional vice-president of Cancer Care Ontario, executive vice-president of Chronic Disease Prevention Management at TBRHSC, and CEO of TBRRI, said this is an important step forward in the development of cancer care IT services.

It also offers an economic boost for the community.

“This will be great for our local economy, and it signals a new working relationship in cancer care IT services for CCO and our Regional Cancer Care Program,” noted Power.

“This partnership has the potential to stimulate new R+D for both CCO and the TBRHSC/TBRRI in IT services and solutions that support the cancer system,” he lauded.

“This partnership is a vote of great confidence for the Regional Cancer Care Program, headquartered in Thunder Bay,” said Andrée Robichaud, president and CEO of TBRHSC.

“It also reinforces TBRHSC’s commitment to research, development, and to innovation through information exchange and information technology.

“This partnership promises to improve the care that cancer patients in our region will receive,” Robichaud pledged.

New Quality Assurance analysts recruited by Cancer Care Ontario are expected to pilot and test software and information systems at TBRHSC.

As a result, TBRHSC physicians, staff, and patients will benefit from increased access to the newest provincial software advances.

Thunder Bay’s Community Economic Development Commission played a crucial role in helping secure the partnership with Cancer Care Ontario.

“We realize this is a valuable economic development opportunity for the City of Thunder Bay,” said CEDC chairman Ed Schmidtke.

“We have agreed to contribute our support and will continue to honour our commitment to attract high-quality health-care jobs to the northwest,” he added.

“We are honoured to have an agency like Cancer Care Ontario partner with us in our region.”

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs said the new jobs in Quality Assurance are yet another example of the growing health-care economy.

“We are seeing the economic benefits that continue to result from our city’s boom in health-care academics, research, and services,” he remarked.

“This is another example of how our city is being recognized in health care research and development.”

The province also is on board. Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro said the new partnership will lead to meaningful health-care advancements for patients and families in the northwest.

“By working together to form key partnerships, the Province of Ontario, Cancer Care Ontario, the Regional Health Sciences Centre, the city, the university, and the college are having a true impact,” Mauro stressed.

“We are honoured to join Cancer Care Ontario on this venture.”

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