Emergency physician leverages University of Toronto Law School curriculum to negotiate legal implications of health technology

Andrew Cameron was completing his residency in emergency medicine at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto when he decided to enroll in the intensive 11-month program at the Faculty of Law. Global Professional Master of Laws Program (GPLLM).

The program is designed to help professionals realize their full potential by being exposed to a solid legal education focused on the areas of law most relevant to their work.

In Cameron’s case, the GPLLM allowed him to approach his work as an emergency physician with a whole new set of skills, allowing him to answer thorny – but not uncommon – questions that arise in a healthcare setting. surrounding the use of technology.

Andrew CameronIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

“If I need it, can I text a patient? Is it legal? It’s a very simple question many emergency services across the country are asking, ”says Cameron, who graduated from the University of Toronto program last November.

“[There needs to be] someone in the room saying, “Before we go texting this person’s entire genome sequence, let’s ask ourselves a few questions about confidentiality” – that can prevent patients from suffering another kind of harm. “

GPLLM learners gain a mastery of the substance and methodology of law, which enables them, as professionals and managers, to differentiate their expertise and become more effective leaders and decision-makers. Classes are scheduled in the evening and on weekends.

“For me, finishing the GPLLM was about having someone in the room when decisions are made, who can think sideways, and who has the experience of being in a room full of super smart people outside of healthcare who can think about legal issues, ”says Cameron. , who learned about the program through one of his medical colleagues, Shaun Mehta, graduated from GPLLM the previous year.

“I spent a year with lawyers, accountants and business people – professionals who had a completely different point of view. [on law]. Now that I’m in this environment, I can siphon off some of these skills and bring them back to medicine.

Established in 2011, the GPLLM has grown from a small cohort of less than 30 students to its latest cohort of nearly 120. The program offers four areas of legal concentration: business law, Canadian law in a global context, innovation, law and technology and the law of leadership.

“In emergencies, we are proud to be general practitioners. Fortunately, I have had a few mentors who believed in a different kind of doctor – one with a perspective broadened by other industries. So, I asked myself: what other industries do we interact with every day in emergencies? “

The answer? “Law and technology.”

Cameron applied what he was learning in the program to help launch a technology solution to help doctors struggling to understand COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. At the time, he says there was a dearth of reliable and actionable information.

“Italian doctors haven’t learned much from Chinese doctors. Doctors in New York City haven’t learned much from doctors in Italy. We haven’t learned much from the doctors in New York. Real patient outcomes were compromised by a lack of organized, translated and effectively disseminated information, ”he says.

Cameron therefore approached colleagues working in health technologies, where he had previously consulted as an expert in medicine, to suggest that they work on creating a tool to bridge the knowledge-sharing gap.

Together they co-founded Pandemos, a secure, physician-only platform where healthcare providers around the world can share and access pandemic advice.

“Doctors had to exchange tips and tricks. Things like, how do you communicate between glass walls when intubating patients in negative pressure rooms? Doctors around the world were tackling this problem and each had their own solutions, but the infrastructure to share this practical knowledge did not yet exist.

Cameron says Pandemos was designed to fill a very specific niche before scientific studies were conducted and published.

“We kept it running for just under a year. We had users from 14 different countries and we were generating good discussions. But it was a finished thing from the start. The three co-founders have had a very important year after that, ”said Cameron, who spent the last year studying and completing his medical licensing exam.

Cameron says Pandemos will have a future iteration when he and his co-founder regroup this summer. He now practices full-time emergency medicine in Vancouver and says his experience in the GPLLM program and at Pandemos has only reinforced his belief that technology can solve critical health issues.

“When I think of overcrowded ERs, the difficulty of treating patients with substance use disorders, or whatever the emergency of the day, the silver bullet for me is technology.”


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Linda Stewart

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