IHA’s new chairman takes a rural trip

Erwin Malzer learns about the strong interconnection between the medical experts in Kamloops and their colleagues in small, rural clinics

Erwin Malzer is the new chair of the Interior Health Authority board.

Erwin Malzer is the new chair of the Interior Health Authority board.

Dale Bass – Kamloops This Week

If there’s one thing that has struck Erwin Malzer as he travels through the Interior Health Authority region, it’s the strong interconnection between the body of medical experts in Kamloops and their colleagues working in small, rural clinics.

“I have a much deeper understanding of that relationship than I knew of before,” said Malzer, a longtime member of the IHA board who was recently elected its chairman.

“It’s huge for rural doctors,” he said of the relationships that can see a lone doctor facing a challenging situation able to make a phone call or send an email to a doctor or clinician in one of the IHA hospitals and get an answer quickly.

“It gives them comfort both in hand-off of a patient to the hospital, but also in the way this relationship helps with treating patients.”

Suan BrownSusan Brown, IHA vice-president of acute services, is also touring the area with Malzer and said she was struck in particular at feedback from rural physicians in Clearwater who felt supported by this.

Malzer said the situations that create this interdependence comes from the simple reality that, with vast area like the IHA’s, it will have many rural doctors and large tertiary  hospitals like Royal Inland — and they often need to communicate with each other.

Adding to the inter-relationship is the IHA high acute response team (HART), which regularly sees a specialized team of an emergency-room nurse and a respiratory therapist head out in an ambulance or by helicopter when medical personnel at a rural setting need a higher level of care and there is a limited amount of time, Brown said. HART, created three years ago, is mainly used to assist with trauma and cardiac cases.

The pair was especially delighted to see the work proceeding on the clinical-services building and parkade on what used to be the north lawn of the hospital.

 

Work has begun to build a business case for the anticipated next major construction at RIH, a surgical tower that could be located to the east of the hospital.