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.
Physicians are highly trained, but their training often lacks a focus on the systems they work within. PQI melds physician training to provide care to patients with training on how to make systemic changes that aid in improving that care.
For some physicians the experience has been life changing. Dr Nigel Aspinall, an ER physician in Fraser Health tells us “I love a challenge. After 20 years, the clinical aspect of Emergency Medicine has become less of a challenge. Working within the complex system of medicine, and actually being part of a change for the better is invigorating.”
Dr Aspinall is one of the physicians who participated in PQI Cohort One at Fraser Health. After he finished his training and completed a QI project, he came away with his eyes opened, “ With QI you can never be finished.” He recently became Department Head in the ED at Eagle Ridge hospital and acknowledges that his PQI training will greatly help him in this new role.
For Dr John Galbraith, a microbiologist working in Vancouver Island Health, PQI was a way to mix his natural inclination for finding a better way with the more formal PQI knowledge of ‘how’. Dr Galbraith who was part of VHIA’s first PQI cohort states “I was blown away by the built-in support structure offered through PQI - our team included many of my colleagues from across VIHA, coordinators and a data analyst.”
A key takeaway for both doctors was the importance of incorporating the patient voice in all PQI efforts and a common theme was the importance of starting small – not trying to conquer the world in one go. Dr. Galbraith sums it up “If you want to build a dream – build a team; and start small.”
Dr Aspinall says, “even if real change is hard to come by, being engaged through QI has made me a better physician - perhaps the real magic of the PQI program is improving the system - one physician at a time.”