The RVH Hematology-Oncology Clinic—A first for the Ottawa Valley

September 01, 2021

 RVH staff members Debbie Fex, Nelly Bertrand, Jessie Riopelle, and Stacey Schroeder with Dr. Manika Gupta at the first Hematology-Oncology clinic held at Renfrew Victoria Hospital on August 17.

RVH staff members Debbie Fex, Nelly Bertrand, Jessie Riopelle, and Stacey Schroeder with Dr. Manika Gupta at the first Hematology-Oncology clinic held at Renfrew Victoria Hospital on August 17. 


A new partnership between The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and Renfrew Victoria Hospital (RVH) will enable Hematology-Oncology patients from Renfrew County to access care close to home.

Hematology-oncology refers to the combined medical practice of hematology (the study of the blood's physiology) and oncology (the study of cancer). It includes the diagnosis and treatment of cancerous blood disorders and cancers (for example, lymphoma or leukemia), the management of symptoms and resultant tumours (if present).

The creation of a hematology-oncology clinic came about through the efforts of TOH Hematologist-Oncologists Dr. Manika Gupta and Dr. Isabelle Bence-Bruckler, TOH Cancer Services, and both the oncology and ambulatory care clinic teams at RVH.

Drs. Gupta and Bence-Bruckler saw a need in the number of patients receiving care in Ottawa from Renfrew County, and an opportunity to provide that care in Renfrew through the RVH outpatient clinic program.

“Diagnosis of a hematologic malignancy is a life-changing event in a patient’s life. I have always felt that travelling to TOH for treatments can be a significant challenge for many of our patients. On the first day of clinic, I was overwhelmed by the warm, welcoming and kind-spirited nature of patients from the Ottawa Valley who were appreciative to have access to Hematology-Oncology services closer to home. We hope that bringing care in the valley will better support our patients through a challenging time. Our TOH team is looking forward to offering chemotherapy soon and seeing the program expand at RVH,” said Dr. Gupta.

The new clinic is one of a growing number of partnerships between RVH and TOH, such as nephrology, oncology, radiology and surgical services.

“Not only does the project align with RVH’s ongoing work to partner and integrate programs with TOH, it was a seamless transition with both organizations, as partners in the Atlas Alliance, using the EPIC electronic health information system,” noted Julia Boudreau, RVH President & CEO.

“It is the culmination of months of efforts between Dr. Bence-Bruckler, Dr. Gupta, the team at RVH and our Regional Cancer Program team to establish a first of its kind in the Valley! We really appreciated the thoughtful approach by our clinical leadership teams, and the assistance of our EPIC experts to make this patient-centred initiative happen for our patients,” said Julie Renaud, Director, TOH Cancer Care Services, Champlain Regional Cancer Program, The Ottawa Hospital.

Chris Ferguson, RVH VP of Patient Services, noted that it was a pleasure working with everyone who played a role in this important new initiative to bring care closer to home. “Thanks to everyone at RVH/TOH who has been working on this initiative over the summer months. It’s another excellent example of integration between our two hospitals. The EPIC platform has allowed us to leverage ways to do this that we never thought were possible!”

Patients will continue to be referred to The Ottawa Hospital Hematology/Oncology unit, where they will be triaged by their postal code and suitability to be seen in Renfrew.

The first clinic was held on August 17 and they will continue on a bi-weekly basis to start with.

In September, RVH nursing and pharmacy staff will receive specialized training in administering and supporting patients receiving these treatments in Renfrew.

“Having the RVH Hemo-Oncology program in place will also allow RVH to move forward with providing chemotherapy treatments for this patient population, particularly those diagnosed with Lymphoma and Leukemia,” noted Rhonda Normandeau, RVH Nurse Manager Operating Room and Oncology, adding, “It will save our local patients from having to frequently travel to Ottawa for follow-up appointments and treatment. Dr. Manika Gupta and Dr. Isabelle Bence-Bruckler were both pivotal in rooting this program here at RVH, along with the great team at The Ottawa Hospital!”

Telemedicine may also be used to connect patients to healthcare providers in Ottawa for education without having to travel before treatments begin in Renfrew.

“Thank you to everyone involved for making this happen. This patient-centred story aligns with the RVH goal to provide patient-centred care close to home, and it’s another great example of the many benefits of EPIC as well as our collaboration with TOH,” stated Boudreau.

For more information, please contact:
Julia Boudreau, CEO,
Renfrew Victoria Hospital & St. Francis Memorial Hospital
613-432-4851, ext. 260