At the age of 20, Dr Julian Sernik decided to leave his hometown of Sydney, Australia for a year-long skiing holiday in Banff, Alberta, a town known for its winter sports and ski resorts. Little did he know that 18 years later he would be living in Cranbrook, BC along with his family of four, practicing medicine and working towards improving BC’s health system.
As our seniors’ population grows, so does the prevalence of dementia. Dementia impairs cognitive function and can be the result of many diseases - the most common being Alzheimer’s Disease.
Recognizing early the symptoms, and providing appropriate and timely care is a crucial part of Drs Peter O'Connor and Leena Jain’s enhanced approach to dementia care – which launched in Fraser Health in 2015 with funding from the Specialist Services Committee (SSC) Quality & Innovation.
Quality improvement is key to working within any medical system, which is why SSC’s Physician Quality Improvement (PQI) initiative is spreading across all BC health authorities. In the past year, 509 physicians were trained through PQI and 144 QI projects were supported.
On February 21, 2018, the Joint Collaborative Committees (JCC) hosted the Champions of Change pre-forum day, in partnership with the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council (BCPSQC). This is the third year the JCCs have partnered with the Quality Forum – a partnership that has proved mutually beneficial to both parties by providing the opportunity to reach broader audiences, and attract greater participation of physicians. This year, close to 500 attendees shared their knowledge and commitment to expand on the successful work that has taken place throughout the province and beyond. See a summary of the event here.
The BC health care system has many valuable and sometimes competing priorities – so it’s always a good sign when one priority – in this case surgical improvement - gets the focused attention of many diverse health care providers.
The BC Summit on Surgical Improvement attracted over 200 specialists, GPs and surgical team members, operational leaders, policy makers and surgical quality improvement experts, as well as patient representatives.
Physicians and health care staff are dedicated to providing the best care possible to all people. Unfortunately, sometimes they face violence from the very people they are trying to help.
This is a challenging part of health care - particularly in mental health, substance use, medical and emergency settings – physicians and health care staff just trying to do their job without being hurt themselves.
There’s often a ‘yin” and ‘yang’ to Dr. Samuel Kohen’s life: To pursue sports or academia, internal or emergency medicine, return to Ontario or move to the Comox Valley. Fortunately, Dr. Kohen’s decisions have allowed him to balance his passion for medicine while living a family oriented, outdoor lifestyle, by practicing Internal Medicine and Critical Care in the Comox Valley.
Dr. James Brown is an anesthesiologist who came to the specialty a little later in his career. Growing up in the UK Dr Brown notes, “the training structure is a little different in the UK from Canada – I had the opportunity to experience other specialties. I trained in emergency, internal medicine and cardiology before discovering anesthetics.”
As physicians, the nature of your business is quality improvement – whether it’s in a system, process or with patient care. Last December, a number of BC physicians were sponsored by SSC to attend the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) National Forum. The IHI Forum is the world’s premier health care conference with over 150 workshops and 400 presenters, all focused on quality improvement in the many dimensions of health care.
Dr. Matt Chow, our new Doctors of BC Co-Chair for the SSC operates under the belief that everyone has three unique stories: their past, now and what’s yet to be. As a trained psychiatrist, it is not surprising to find Matt’s practice is part of the ‘Three Story Clinic’, which clearly reflects this belief.
As the third largest metropolitan area in BC, Kelowna faced a growing concern over the timely and appropriate treatment for people in their community with musculoskeletal issues (MSK).
Orthopedic surgeons, Drs John Oliver and Curtis Myden submitted a proposal to the SSC and received funding to undertake a quality improvement initiative to increase patient access at the Kelowna Bone and Joint Health. MSK care was offered through eight separate orthopedic surgical practices operating at this site.
St. Paul’s Hospital initiated a LEAN project to improve efficiency in the surgical daycare and operating rooms. The goals were to improve access, patient flow, patient and provider satisfaction and communication. A team at St. Paul’s Hospital involving surgeons, anesthesia, surgical department head, surgical managers, clinical nurse leaders, surgical directors, decision support and a consultant worked to reduce delays and improve the experience of surgical daycare patients
Palliative medicine is such a complex and amazing field – it is where the art of being human and the art of medicine truly come together. Palliative care doctors constantly face patients with life-threatening illnesses. And it is not just their patients who need care, family members also need support, as their loved ones are often moving towards the most profound stage of any life – the end stage.
SSC has made various changes to its fees and introduced new ones over the past few years to support specialists delivering high quality care to patients. Unlike regular fee-for-service fees funding through the Medical Services Plan, SSC’s budget is capped on an annual basis. As a collaborative committee, we have the responsibility to manage these fees. Therefore, we are making changes to ensure the fees remain aligned with their original intent while keeping utilization within SSC's fixed budget. We have worked hard to ensure minimal impact to you while achieving our fiscal goals. New fee changes take effect July 1, 2017. See Special Bulletin for more information.
Our heart – when we’re happy, we say our heart is full of joy; when we’re sad, we say our heart hurts or is broken. We often use our heart as a measure for our emotional well-being. But when our heart suffers physical damage, it’s the Cardiologists we turn to for help.
Times have changed. Multiple Sclerosis used to be a disease with very little treatment options and a progressive ability to severely disable those affected by it. Within the last five to six years, new drug therapies have proven to be making major inroads in slowing the progression of the disease and in some cases resulting in no evidence of disease activity. However, with these new drugs comes a higher risk profile and the need for greater monitoring.
At a recent standing-room only Medical Staff Association meeting at Vancouver General Hospital, more than 120 physicians turned out to learn about the Vancouver Physician Staff Association Facility Engagement (FE) plans. A request to identify priorities resulted in 36 project proposals that ultimately support better patient care. Other sites are seeing similarly enthusiastic responses from physicians. Medical staff working at 42 hospitals are being formally asked about their priorities, and have a formal structure in place where they can express their views and more importantly - be heard.
Dr. Eric Grafstein is a curious man, which always served him well. It is curiosity that led him to submit a proposal to the SSC’s Quality and Innovation (Q&I) Initiative to pilot a project to make physician telephone consultations available for more urgent calls – considered ‘red calls’ made to the HealthLinkBC 8-1-1 line. He was curious to know if adding a physician would reduce the number of ‘red calls’ ending up in the emergency department (ED). SSC funded the five-month pilot through the Q&I Initiative.
Physician Quality Improvement (PQI) (previously called: Regional Quality Improvement) is an SSC-funded initiative that provides $1.3 million annually to each health authority to support physician involvement in QI. Physicians participate in QI activities through training and completion of projects. Although the focus of PQI is to increase physician involvement – many people can participate and benefit. Anna Hwang, a recent graduate of SFU is one such person.
It was one particular moment in medical school that propelled Dr William Siu, President of the BC Radiological Society, to venture into the field of Radiology. “While attending rounds as a senior medical student, I was blown away by what I saw an Interventional Radiologist do for a particular case – a case that highlighted the cutting edge and futuristic potential of Interventional Radiology. This was what led me to choose Radiology for my residency.”