Doctors of Innovation and Change

February 27, 2018

One of the benefits of being president that I enjoy, is the opportunity to attend many meetings and events that often show case some amazing work of doctors across the province. I also get to meet many of these accomplished doctors whom I would never encounter otherwise. Everywhere I go I continue to be impressed by the work being done across BC, and I can see how committed the profession is to caring for patients and communities. 

I had the opportunity to see some of these innovations at the Engagement For Innovative Technologies forum (eFIT) – the focus here was advancements of some of the electronic tools we use. Supported by Facilities Engagement funding, eFIT’s goal is to develop a community of physicians to help introduce, innovate, investigate and implement innovations judiciously into our healthcare system. Presenters at the forum ranged from medical students to physicians of my vintage, and the projects were impressive and somewhat intimidating. 

I also attended the Joint Collaborative Committees Showcase and the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council Forum. The theme this year was “Champions of Change” and the content certainly lived up to the name. The format of presenting a number of short snappers in each session, combined with the vast number of storyboard posters on display, allowed for a much broader number of projects to be presented. Allied health workers, health authority representatives, the Ministry of Health, university educators, community representatives and patient voices each added their own voice and perspective making for truly rich conversations. A special thank you to Minister of Health Adrian Dix for taking the time to speak and interact with participants.

A factor common to these events was the involvement of these partners both in presentations and attendance, and I congratulate all participants on a truly exciting range of work. But what strikes me about every event I attend is the huge passion of all our colleagues to make the system better. Part of the motivation may be selfish, for who doesn’t want to make the environment in which they work positive and exciting and able to provide the best care. But this does not consistently happen in our health care system – and we need to fix it. 

However, we are having tremendous difficulty cross-pollinating successful innovations across the province. Too often we live in a world of pilot projects with no defined plan, structure or funding to enable us to spread our successes more broadly. Too often we lack the courage to critically evaluate our projects and abandon or modify the ones that did not work out so well. We need more of the big picture and the support to implement these wonderful visions for change more comprehensively (where appropriate) across the province.

My role this year has helped me see some of this big picture. Despite the many crisis situations and daily frustrations of practice, I believe we can change things. The reason I believe this is because I have seen first-hand the work you are doing and it is good. I have been privileged to hear about your struggles and your concerns at both larger events such as the above mentioned, and smaller ones with individual divisions and medical staff associations. We need to know the challenges of individual physicians if we want any chance of helping to resolve them. I am here to listen – and during my last three months I am willing to hear from any and all of you. Reach out to me at . If you have a meeting where I can listen, feel free to invite me and I will do my best to attend. My job is to listen, and as best I can, speak on your behalf.

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