As part of my role as a Patient Voices Network Advisor and health informatics strategy consultant, I have occasion to work with a number of organizations across the health sector. I was participating in a palliative care working group improving patient communications and creating a resource guide for patients and caregivers within a health region while at the same time sitting on a Patient and Family Engagement Experience Steering Committee for BC Cancer Agency. It occurred to me that, in order to improve patient outcomes, resources created by one organization may be of tremendous value to the other organization; however, there was no clear mechanism for sharing this information rather than duplicating efforts and re-creating similar materials in multiple organizations. Additionally, providers, allied health and their staff do such a commendable job of gathering health information from a variety of sources to maximize the efficacy of brief encounters with patients that patients may be unaware of the gaps. There may be assumptions that there is an interconnected health system that communicates their health information with other providers and organizations seamlessly. Have we done ourselves a disservice?
In 2016 in the Interior of British Columbia a small group of consultants and colleagues started a Network of Health Leaders that have a common interest in healthcare improvement and health information exchange. A space was created where individuals could
‘take the badges off’ and get together for meaningful discussion across that interstitial space between organizations. Participants gathered together to address questions such as: How can we improve collaboration, share ideas and create synergies across healthcare organizations in the interior? What are your current challenges and lessons learned? And, how do we create a model of excellence and share best practices? Lively and rich dialogue ensued and it was quickly determined that there was definitely an appetite for getting together every 3-4 months.
Creating a Think Tank of health leaders is not a small undertaking and we have been lucky to have several organizations step up to the plate to sponsor activities.
The first meeting was sponsored by this magazine, Health Information Management and Communications Canada. 13 different organizations that are involved or affiliated with health system improvement participated. I believe so strongly in the value of this rich dialogue exchange and wanting to keep the momentum going, the second meeting was self-sponsored through Healthcare Consulting. 21 people attended – right sized for meaningful discussion, building relationships and making connections! And the momentum continues. Our third meeting was sponsored by Lexmark and our last meeting was sponsored by BCHIMPS, the BC Health Information Management Professionals Society. We are looking forward to our next dialogue, April 27, 2017 which will be sponsored by BCHIMPS and CGI. Envisioning a fully connected, communicating health care system – theming the event around Innovation and Interoperability.
If you are interested in joining us, have great ideas to contribute, or would like to sponsor a future event, please contact me at