ST. JOHN’S, NF, Aug. 28, 2002 – Faculty at Memorial University’s Department of Medicine have
joined the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and other partners to create an advanced web and computer-based
teaching program. The program is geared to physicians in Atlantic Canada and deals with the early and proper
diagnosis and treatment of whiplash and lower-back injuries.
This instructional course (both CD ROM and web-based) will enhance physicians’ knowledge of
the recognition, management and treatment of whiplash and back injuries.
“This program will greatly benefit physicians who want to improve their knowledge, management
and treatment in this area,” says Dr. Ean Parsons, Assistant Dean, Memorial University’s Office of
Professional Development. “Physicians will be able to complete an accredited, cost-effective program at
a convenient location at their own pace.”
The interactive program, developed and tested with the involvement of physicians throughout the
Atlantic region, includes multimedia tutorials, case study self-assessments, links to resources on the World
Wide Web, and participation in computer conferencing discussions with peers and subject matter specialists. The
test program received encouraging comments from physicians across the region, citing that it was “well
laid out and well organized”; “a timely and relevant subject to practice”; and that it
“provides flexibility to time schedules.”
The Canadian Automobile Insurance industry has identified the increasing number of costly back
injury and whiplash claims – despite a reduction in the number of car accidents – as the primary reason for
increased insurance premiums in the region. Recent results of an IBC study of closed claims in Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick were consistent with similar studies conducted in Newfoundland & Labrador, Manitoba and
British Columbia over the last ten years. The results show the number of soft tissue injury claims (sprains and
strains) alone represent approximately 70% of injury claims presented.
“The primary purpose of automobile insurance is to return injured persons, as nearly as
possible, to their condition before an accident,” says Don Forgeron, IBC’s Atlantic vice president.
“Early treatment of accident victims is an essential first step of effective rehabilitation.”
The insurance industry has increasingly been working with health care service providers and
other stakeholders to ensure that medical and rehabilitation resources are used efficiently to help victims of
auto accidents recover as well as possible, as quickly as possible.
“Our common goal with this project was to enhance awareness of the importance of early
diagnosis and treatment of accident victims with soft-tissue injuries,” says Forgeron. “We know that
patients who don’t receive this will suffer longer-term effects, and the healthcare costs associated with
delayed treatments are proportionately higher.”
A complimentary copy of the CD Rom is being distributed to more than 1700 general and family
practitioners in Atlantic Canada and is available online via the university’s website (for physicians who have
an access code) www.med.mun.ca.