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IHI Scholarship Recipients Share Their Experiences (2020-2021)


We proudly support IHI Open School Chapters at UBC, UBCO, UNBC, UVIC and SFU and provide an annual scholarship fund that supports exceptional students to attend educational events related to quality and safety. We’re thrilled to help leaders of tomorrow deepen their understanding of quality improvement and the work being done in our province by attending the Quality Forum and other improvement related events.

We received testimonials from students we sponsored to attend the IHI National Forum 2020 and International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare 2020, plus those who completed the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training and attended our Quality Forum 2021. Below you’ll find a collection of blog articles and vlogs that outline what they experienced!

The photo above is a group of previous scholarship recipients; at the next opportunity we get, we’ll share a photo of this year’s group!

Interested in learning more about the IHI Open School? Visit our Student Programs page.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended IHI National Forum 2020 (virtual).

My name is Stephanie Quon and I am a second year electrical engineering student at UBC, specializing in biomedical engineering! This year, I had the opportunity to attend the Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum, with the generous support of a BC Patient Safety & Quality Council and IHI Open Schools Healthcare Improvement Scholarship. 

As the conference was online this year, all sessions were recorded, which offered a lot of flexibility in attending presentations. During the conference, I had the privilege of attending presentations on topics ranging from data tools to improving equity in healthcare. I thoroughly enjoyed every session I attended, and two presentations covered topics especially close to the work I am interested in: “Telehealth Implementation to Scale up and Sustainability”, and “Improving the Perception of Patient-Centered Wellness in a Virtual Population During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. 

From the “Telehealth Implementation to Scale up and Sustainability” presentation, it was very interesting to hear about the daily workflow of telehealth, and learn about how telehealth is being used during COVID-19. The presentation also highlighted how a pulse oximeter can be a powerful tool for telehealth, which I found very interesting as I recently learned about pulse oximeters on a signal, sensor, and circuit level. 

From the “Improving the Perception of Patient-Centered Wellness in a Virtual Population During the COVID-19 Pandemic” presentation, it was interesting to see the positive outcomes of a virtual wellness project and a mobile health app. An outcome of the study was that apps need to have the capability to automatically record their use for the project or intervention to be sustainable, which I found quite surprising. 

My biggest takeaway from the conference was a better understanding of the clinical side of quality improvement. From an engineering perspective, I usually get instructions on what I need to build or code without the context of who will use the tool or how it will be used. As my experience with quality improvement research has been purely technical, I found this experience very valuable and eye-opening. Moving forward with the research I am currently involved in, I now have a better understanding of the importance of designing specifically for the needs of the population. Overall, the conference gave me a much more well-rounded perspective on what healthcare improvement looks like and the impact it can have. 

Thank you to IHI Open Schools, the BCPSQC, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum for this opportunity!

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended IHI National Forum 2020 (virtual).

As a second-year medical student at the UBC Southern Medical Program, I had the privilege of attending the 2020 IHI National Forum. Under normal circumstances this conference would’ve taken place in Orlando, Florida. Instead, I participated from the comfort of my living room couch. Despite the change in setting, I feel tremendously fortunate to have taken part in this event alongside healthcare professionals and students from around the world.

Upon logging onto the online platform, I was impressed by the incredible variety of sessions that were available for us to attend. Over three days, the speakers covered a broad range of subjects from the technical and operational to issues of social equity, with a unifying theme of patient-centred and quality care. Some of the subject areas included patient flow in hospitals and strategies to improve efficiency, optimizing telehealth, the Black Lives Matter movement and maintaining compassion during burnout. Many of the presenters were speaking to their experiences working the frontline of the pandemic, discussing lessons learned from this unprecedented year.

I was very interested to attend the session “When Crises Collide: Sustaining Opioid & Substance Use Disorder Priorities in the Face of a Global Pandemic”, as this is a subject close to my heart. Beyond discussing the impact of COVID-19 and how it has exacerbated the existing opioid epidemic, the panel of speakers provided concrete actions we can take as individuals to enable system-wide changes. As a student, I often feel like a very small part of an enormous system. I was reminded that small changes to combat our own biases and stigma can be an important catalyst for change.

Although the conference hosted many engaging speakers, Dr. Don Berwick’s keynote speech left me with a lasting impression. In his presentation, he discussed how polarization both politically and in healthcare and can foster negative health outcomes. I was encouraged to critically consider how silos can impede healthcare quality and the role of shared communication to improve this division.

I am extremely grateful to have taken part in the 2020 National Forum. I want to sincerely thank the IHI Open School Chapter at UBC and the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council for offering this incredible opportunity to broaden my horizons. Despite our distance from one another, in a year defined by isolation, the Forum was an opportunity to come together and engage with other healthcare professionals with a shared passion for improving patient care.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended IHI National Forum 2020 (virtual).

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare 2020 (virtual).

I attended the International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare, a virtual conference that ran between November 2nd and 6th, out of Copenhagen, Denmark. Over 3000 people from a variety of healthcare backgrounds attended the conference from all over the world and enjoyed both live and on-demand programs. It was an excellent conference. Opportunities like these provide me with knowledge and skills that go beyond what is taught in a university curriculum. As a pharmacy student in her fourth and final year, I appreciate every opportunity to grow and learn so I may become the best clinician possible. Thank you, BCPSQC & IHI Open Schools, for selecting me to receive the Healthcare Improvement Scholarship and giving me the opportunity to attend this conference.

The conference included multiple fascinating lectures and the content was updated to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. The live sessions were kicked off with a live panel session on how to tackle common challenges and break down barriers in light of COVID-19. The current pandemic poses accessibility challenges for a large proportion of our population. These accessibility barriers could be due to both physical and emotional challenges and should be acknowledged and addressed by healthcare providers across the spectrum. As healthcare providers we need to find ways to address and overcome accessibility barriers to ensure standard of care is maintained and patients are not left behind untreated. The conference organizers stated: “In these uncertain and challenging times, it has never been so important to consider how healthcare on a global scale can emerge from crisis stronger and more connected than ever before”, and I could not agree more. I see this global crisis as an opportunity for quality improvement that can be sustainable and provide better care for our patients not only during, but also beyond the pandemic. Donald Berwick and Kedar Mate from IHI gave an inspirational talk which focused on six paths towards system change: equity as a necessity for quality, social determinants of health, extending our duty to care, speed of change, getting real about scale, and focus on the care that is actually needed rather than that which is expected. These paths towards system change could be implemented when an approach to system change is suggested to help provide better care during COVID-19.

The poster session included over 700 poster presentations (including my poster!) on a variety of topics. The organizers added a feature where you could chat with the poster presenter, ask questions and make comments. It was fascinating to see what is being studied and focused on around the world. I was left to reflect on where I would like to see the Canadian healthcare system go in the coming years.

This conference was a great opportunity to advance my knowledge in an interprofessional virtual setting. I highly recommend to students to attend next year’s International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare and hope that I have the opportunity to attend again in the future.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended the IHI National Forum 2020 (virtual).

I want to start by sincerely thanking the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council and the BC IHI Open School Chapters for this incredible opportunity to attend the Virtual IHI Forum 2020. As a first-year medical student and life-long resident of Northern BC, I have always been passionate about health care quality improvement and attending the forum has allowed me to gain exposure on innovative and leading QI projects while also developing a strong foundational knowledge in QI that I will be able to apply throughout my future education, research, career, and practice.

Reflecting on my experience, one of the most popular themes at the IHI Forum this year was the undeniable impact of COVID-19 on health systems from around the world. For example, many of the sessions highlighted strategies and approaches that have been taken by healthcare providers, organizations, institutions, and other relevant stakeholders to improve the health and quality of care experienced by patients and populations affected by COVID-19. This included presentations on how health systems can ensure equity in response to COVID-19, promote professionalism during times of crisis, maintain compassion and quality of care throughout the pandemic, and respond to and support the needs of nurses, physicians, and other health care workers facing mental health issues, burnout, and challenges in the wake of COVID-19. It was also inspiring to see how amidst this global pandemic, significant improvements in patient care have been achieved through what Dr. Jonathan Gleason referred to as “opportunistic transformations”. These transformations included innovations in the use of new technologies (i.e. telehealth, remote monitoring, and home-based care models), rapid advances in patient safety for at-risk populations, and the management of competing health priorities such as the opioid crisis in times of COVID-19. Many of the talks also focused on approaches that could be taken to maintain these positive changes both during and in the post-pandemic era.

In addition to the keynote speakers and scheduled presentations, attending the IHI Forum 2020 also offered countless opportunities to engage, learn, and network with leaders and learners in the field of QI through platforms such as the innovations theatre, storyboard, and after-hours events. In particular, I found the projects displayed on the storyboard gallery to be motivating as a new member of the QI community as they were practical initiatives that could be undertaken by learners like myself and applied to diverse populations, communities, and health systems. These included initiatives aimed at addressing aspects of healthcare such as value, cost, quality, equity, leadership, safety, and person-centered care.

Overall, the IHI Forum 2020 was an excellent experience that has broadened my perspectives on quality improvement and demonstrated that both large and small changes can have a profound impact on patients, health professionals, and the quality of healthcare. Recordings of each session from the Forum have also been made available to attendees and I am looking forward to re-watching and viewing several more presentations from the event. Thank you again for the opportunity to develop the necessary skills, tools, and knowledge required to undertake healthcare quality improvement activities, advocate for change, and improve healthcare for all.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare 2020 (virtual).

My name is Michelle Lisonek and I am delighted to have received the BCPSQC and IHI Open Schools Healthcare Improvement Scholarship to attend the 2020 IHI International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare. I was originally set to attend the conference in Copenhagen in April 2020; however, with the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was moved online and postponed to November 2020. I think many of us can relate to the disappointment that came with the alteration of plans due to COVID-19. Although it was great to be able to attend talks in my pyjamas, I had been excited to not only explore the capital of Denmark, but also dive headfirst into networking in person with scientists and healthcare professionals from around the world. Despite the setbacks faced by the pandemic, the forum still proved to be an extremely valuable experience.

IHI seamlessly switched the international forum to an online platform. In their conference browser, you could view your profile, the programming schedule, ePosters, partners, and participants. Sessions were held live in Danish time, which unfortunately translated to very early hours of the morning in Vancouver. Although this made it extremely difficult to attend sessions in real-time, all talks were recorded and will be available for on-demand viewing until May 2021. This set-up greatly increases the access to information, as talks that ran during the same timeslot can now all be viewed at separate time points and at the attendee’s own pace.

The theme of the conference this year was “Breaking Down Barriers.” Pedro Delgado, the Head of Europe and Latin America Regions for IHI, was one of the individuals leading the introduction to the forum. He emphasized the values of curiosity, compassion, and community over not only the next few days at the forum, but also during these unprecedented times. The conference was filled with inspirational talks from global leaders in healthcare. I was happy to hear about driver diagrams and PDSA cycles, as these are concepts that were also covered during the IHI Basic Certificate in Quality and Safety (another great, and free, opportunity that is fantastic for anyone looking to learn more about quality and safety).

Reading this, you may be wondering what you can do next in terms of quality improvement. Dr. Don Goldmann, Professor of Peadiatrics at Harvard University, discussed five urgent challenges to address by 2030: (1) prove that your interventions are effective before scaling up; (2) embrace innovation and collaboration with regard to technology in this new digital age; (3) respect advances in basic and translational sciences and leverage these discoveries; (4) learn what works in other fields, even when it is not outright called “improvement science;” and (5) be conscious of measurement fatigue. If you are pursuing a career in healthcare, I encourage you to face these challenges head on through a lens of curiosity, compassion, and community, so that we can continue to break down barriers and improve healthcare worldwide.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended the IHI National Forum 2020 (virtual).

This year, I had the pleasure of attending the 2020 IHI National Forum with the educational scholarship offered to me by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council. After an unarguably difficult year for everyone, especially the healthcare profession, it is amazing to have the opportunity to gather again with my healthcare allies to see all the improvements the world has made as a whole during its battle in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having attended and loved in-person conferences in the past, I was very excited to see what the virtual format of the IHI National Forum this year would bring to the table. In the beginning, I was not fully confident that the virtual format will bring to us the full experience. However, I was pleasantly surprised as I attended the forum days. The sessions ran smoothly and everyone was engaged in conversations through the chat. Although lacking the spontaneity of interactions in face-to-face sessions, virtual attendance did not deter participants from asking their questions and expressing their thoughts. As expected, many sessions of the National Forum this year were very much focused on the topic of COVID-19. I had the valuable opportunity to listen to experts in the field talk about the technological advancements made, the treatment and public health strategies developed, and the outcomes of what has happened in the past year.

Overall, this was an extremely fruitful and engaging experience. The success of the virtual format opened up many doors for healthcare professionals across the globe to be able to attend forums that are half way across the world. However, I must say that even though I would love to attend virtual conferences again in the future, I very much miss the in-person interactions in which we were able to engage in previous years. I certainly also miss enjoying the amazing food offered during those conferences with my friends and colleagues. As excited as I am for all the technological advancements that make events like this possible and more accessible than before, I truly wish that the world can get past this pandemic together soon and that we will be able to see more in-person events being held in the near future.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended Quality Forum 2021 (virtual).

I feel very fortunate to have been offered the chance to attend Quality Forum 2021 through accepting the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council and UBC IHI Open School Chapter Healthcare Improvement Scholarship. As a new attendee, I had no idea what to expect from the Forum beyond the descriptive overview that was presented to us when selecting the sessions we were most interested in. Fortunately, I was more than adequately supported along the way by Nancy Falconer, Director of Learning & Capability Development at BCPSQC as well as other award recipients who shared a similar excitement for increasing one’s literacy in healthcare improvement and patient safety.

It is difficult to choose the sessions that I most enjoyed, since the main stage, workshops, focus, and rapid-fire sessions each had their own attractive qualities and I walked away from the Forum wishing that there were more hours in the day to attend more sessions. I learned more than I could have imagined through the fast paced rapid fire sessions, the first of which shared current practices in the ED to improve patient outcomes. I was enlightened by Interior Health’s endovascular thrombectomy service that managed to improve median door to puncture time and median door to reperfusion time by 47% and 53%, respectively. This was a powerful demonstration of how Tele Health was utilized to expedite the process of delivering care. Immediately following this session was another groundbreaking presentation exploring alternatives to the historically accepted use of normal saline, an unbalanced crystalloid, for shock management and hemodynamic stability. I was fascinated to learn that relatively cost-effective interventions like educational bedside rounds and infographics can be used as motivators for the use of balanced crystalloids associated with decreased mortality over normal saline. Finally, the early warning predictive tool that identifies patients with a high risk for delirium presented by Dr. Krakovska brought everything full circle for me. This presentation inspired me by applying principles of machine learning that I have learned in the classroom – such as the use of training and testing sets – towards designing a project that can improve patient outcomes in the real world.

The debate on COVID-19 and its role in putting an end to quality improvement was a very engaging and thought-provoking event I had the pleasure of attending. Although many of us would argue that quality improvement is alive and well, it was interesting to hear the perspective of the speakers tasked with defending such a statement. I recall Dr. Kanji debating that healthcare improvement has become an afterthought and reactionary in nature following the pandemic, which was an eye-opening point of view that I had not considered. I commend all of the speakers for defending their assigned stance and was on the edge of my seat until the very end!

These two days have taught me more than I could have predicted and time flew by as I tried to soak in as much as I could. I would like to thank the UBC IHI Open School Chapter as well as the BCPSQC for allowing me to expand my understanding of what quality improvement is all about through attending Quality Forum 2021.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended Quality Forum 2021 (virtual).

I would like to thank the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council and the BC IHI Open School Chapters for the opportunity to attend the virtual 2021 Quality Forum. Attending the Quality Forum from the comfort of my own home was certainly a novel experience! The Quality Forum Virtual Portal provided an amazing interface to watch presentations, scroll through the showcase, and interact with other attendees. I am grateful that I have the continued ability to visit the Virtual Portal even though the Forum has ended as there are so many posters and recorded lectures to review.

Reflecting on my experience, one of the most impactful presentations was the plenary by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on the independent review of Indigenous-specific racism in BC healthcare. In her presentation, Mary Ellen emphasized the need to embed cultural safety into our definition of quality and to create a “speak up” culture against racism and discrimination. I continue to think about many of the points made during this presentation as I eagerly prepare for clerkship next year where I will be entering many of these healthcare spaces for the first time.

I not only attended the Quality Forum as an observer, but also as a presenter. I got to present a poster outlining the work I did as part of the BCPSQC summer internship program. While it wasn’t quite the same as presenting in person, I was able to chat and answer questions from several people. One of the benefits of the virtual platform was that I didn’t always have to be at my poster in order to answer questions. I found these conversations with other attendees to be very inspiring and motivational.

Overall, the 2021 Quality Forum was a valuable experience that provided important insight into the challenges and opportunities related to patient safety and quality improvement currently found in BC. I am coming away from the Forum with a redefined understanding of how to use quality improvement to benefit patients, health providers, and the healthcare system in general. I look forward to implementing what I have learned in my future practice.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended Quality Forum 2021 (virtual).

The 2021 Quality Forum was an enriching experience which complements my first-year medical training. It allowed me to think critically about my education and reflect on ways in which the health care sector can be improved.

In our curriculum, we recently had lectures on the care of the elderly which were relevant to the “Moving Upstream for Whole Person Care” session. I felt that the last presentation of this session, “Improving Digital Health Literacy of Multicultural Communities in BC through a ‘Train the Trainer’ Approach to Support COVID-19 Resilience”, was particularly pertinent. In this session, the research team spoke about improving digital health literacy in older multicultural populations through modules to aid engagement with virtual health platforms. This session highlighted key barriers that older populations may face when accessing care, surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the sessions touched on changes to care during and following the pandemic. Virtual care has become the standard and the healthcare system is having to rapidly adapt. The “delivering high quality care (virtually) anywhere” session touched on the development of virtual healthcare services, including 811, virtual psychiatric consultation, and remote interpreting services. The overarching theme of these presentations was that these services are rapidly evolving, and program evaluation and continuous improvement is paramount.

Another aspect of our curriculum surrounds recognizing healthcare barriers faced in rural and remote communities. The rapid-fire session, “Going the Distance for High Quality Rural Care” touched on some emerging approaches to improving care in rural and remote communities. One benefit of the pandemic is that it has allowed some programs to develop faster and overcome obstacles and barriers.

In summary, the Quality Forum allowed me to reflect on my training and learn more about quality improvement projects that aim to improve our healthcare system.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended 202 IHI Forum (virtual).

My main goal in attending IHI forum was to identify how I could incorporate quality improvement into my daily work in a sustainable way. To me, this looks like caring for our patients with patient safety and quality improvement at the forefront of our work. It is the ability to maintain that culture of safety in my daily work.

The four different approaches to improving quality – planning, control, assurance, improvement. Planning means identifying the needs of the population we’re serving. Assurance includes periodic checks to ensure that we are meeting standards. Actions are taken to address any gaps that are identified. Quality improvement is a systematic approach to testing solutions that might make a difference for complex problems. Quality improvement includes a team of people who can design projects and discover solutions to address complex problems. It includes setting an aim, identifying how we know whether the change has made an improvement, and identifying ideas that can result in improvement. Ideas are tested, results are analyzed, and next steps are decided upon. Quality control is about finding ways for the team to monitor the performance of the idea in real time. Team members will communicate about whether the idea is working or not and make changes as needed. This is where engagement of all team members is crucial to ensuring that positive changes are sustained. Time needs to be created to support regular reflection. Staff members listen to patients, monitor how the team is functioning, and raise problems to leaders. Quality planning may only happen once or twice a year when complex issues arise and leaders are actively planning and testing ideas. Much of our day to day is in quality control.

“You cannot give what you don’t have.” High quality compassionate care can only be provided if care providers are well themselves. The ideas surrounding how to improve joy in work seemed to boil down to the functioning of the team itself. The basis of this was communication and comradery. There were many ways that this could be achieved. One way was to recognize efforts that staff make through positive gossip, increasing staff satisfaction. Team activities including going out for lunch, walks, and creating safe spaces that encourage communication about all issues that arise. Having time to debrief and feeling supported is important to a well-functioning team. Joy in work is a shared responsibility at all levels. Maintaining the level of engagement of the team is vital to feeling joy in work and is how we can ensure that quality improvement is sustainable.

I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to learn about how I could contribute to a patient safety and quality improvement culture as a medical student and clinical clerk on my hospital rotations. It often feels as if change is only something that can be made by people in leadership positions. I have concluded the IHI forum with a better understanding of my role in quality improvement.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Completed San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training

I would like to start by thanking BCPSQC and IHI Open School for giving me the opportunity to participate in such an excellent initiative. Allowing students to engage in learning opportunities about healthcare improvement and patient safety is very important and is not always accessible through University courses.

With my scholarship, I decided to enroll in a course by San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training, done in collaboration with the BC Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). The course I decided to take focused on indigenous health and cultural safety in BC. This online course was self-directed and led learners through a handful of well rounded modules, including BC indigenous culture and history, stereotyping and oppression, and how these problems continue to lead to health issues for Indigenous people. The goal of this course was to educate health workers on indigenous cultures, to increase self-awareness and strengthen skills for any person working directly or indirectly with Indigenous people as well as to learn about the health issues that Indigenous people face.

As a student of public health and epidemiology, our unit of study is the population as whole, as opposed to individuals. Because of this, I often don’t get the opportunity to interact directly with individuals in the healthcare system. The San’yas course provided an excellent blend of personalised stories as well as the population health impact and allowed me to understand how connected the two are. I not only hope to apply what I have learned to in my academic career, but I also hope to take what I have learned and apply it to my everyday life. 

I would highly recommend this course to everyone, not just to those working in the healthcare system. Listening to personal stories about the challenges Indigenous people face trying to access basic health care needs is eye-opening. The only way we can learn and improve is through exposure to these stories and understanding the damage it has caused and continues to cause. 

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended Quality Forum 2021 (virtual).

Firstly, I want to take this opportunity to thank IHI UBC and the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council for providing me with the opportunity to digitally attend the 2021 Quality Forum. As a senior undergraduate student studying Philosophy and Biochemistry at UBC Okanagan, I have a strong interest in interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving in the context of health systems and care. This opportunity allowed me to explore my interest in healthcare quality improvement science from a number of different modalities.

The 2021 Quality Forum was an incredibly rich learning experience. It provided an invaluable opportunity for stakeholders from across the province to learn, share, and collaborate with one another in a dynamic and collaborative way. Covering treatment interventions, clinical assessments, professional development, retrospective analyses, debates, and patient-centered simulations, there was a wide breadth of offerings in engaging and unique areas, many of which I was previously inexperienced in. Although it is difficult to replicate the unique sense of community that is built with in-person events, the virtual format of the Forum was equally engaging, connected, and organized.

I began each day of the conference attending inspiring plenary speeches, including topics like Indigenous-specified racism in healthcare and trust in systems as a social determinant of health. I also attended breakout sessions where I was able to experience a multitude of stimulating topics. One session explained the BC Quality Matrix in depth and emphasized its importance in conventional practice. Another session provided an intimate look at the stigmas and challenges faced by people who use drugs, and their loved ones. This session provided the chance to discuss unseen aspects needing improvement, including the importance of compassion, support access, and empathy at all points of interaction with the care system. Pertinent to the digital age, the rapid- fire session on leveraging automation for improvement discussed an AI chatbot tool, predictive tools for delirium risk management, and automation of COVID-19 Reporting. These topics demonstrated the utilization of cutting-edge technologies and tools in the context of QI.

Beyond the spectacular plenary and breakout sessions offered at the forum, I also had the opportunity to network with leaders and engaged stakeholders involved in a variety of different aspects of quality improvement. I was able build relationships with local experts, leaders, and trail blazers spanning the whole continuum of care.

This conference provided me with exposure to deliverable skills from the sessions, including effective strategies for leading practices, patient communication, and team-based partnership. Through my experience, I have discovered just how imperative QI is for not only functional operation, but for the effective enhancement of our system in striving to provide the highest possible level of patient care to all. This has fueled my passion for this field as something that I wholeheartedly hope to contribute to as my career progresses.

BCPSQC & IHI Scholarship Recipient 2020-2021, Attended Quality Forum 2021 (virtual).

I am a third year medical student from the UBC Southern Medical Program and I had the pleasure of attending this year’s BC Quality Forum with the generous support of the BCPSQC and IHI UBC Scholarship. Despite the conference’s entirely online format, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the sessions and appreciated the added content the online forum was able to provide. Taking part in this event in the comfort of my pajamas was an added bonus!

From the opening territorial welcome by Syexwaliya to the final plenary talk by the ever-inspiring Helen Bevan, I was amazed by the breadth and quality of each of the presentations. Notably, I found the debate over the question “Did COVID-19 put an end to quality improvement (QI)?” to not only be entertaining, but also very thought provoking. While my initial thought would be that of course not, QI was accelerated and adapted to the crisis mode brought about the pandemic (think new ways of conducting telemedicine, vaccine rollout), there is the other side of the argument that during this time we did not have the ability to properly plan ahead (no PDSA cycles!) and only reacted to situations. Other areas of healthcare have also taken a hit, particularly cancer screening or access to in-person medical care, to name a few. Ultimately, the one takeaway from the debate that stuck with me the most was from Bev Pomeroy who urges us to always remember that patients and families must always remain the epicentre of QI and that we must continue to engage more with this essential group.

I learned about the incredible journey of Dr. Julian Sernik and his colleagues in Vernon in moving their orthopedic surgery clinic and opening their doors within 4 days. I was particularly intrigued about a theory of inventive problem solving he used called Triz, which focuses on brainstorming the worst possible way a system could fail and doing the opposite to succeed. Drs. John Pawlovich and Kendall Ho explained how they have revolutionized the way we can support both patients and providers in this new era of telemedicine using their newly implemented BC Real-Time Virtual Supports. I also learned from Dr. Agnes Binagwaho that in just 27 years, the life expectancy in Rwanda has gone from just 28 years to 69 years. The secret? Health systems that focus on equity are the most resilient. The Rwandan community has the highest trust in healthcare (97% of the population), with 99% trusting vaccines.

I can go on about how incredible each session and how amazing it was to see 1000 other attendees exploding the chat box, but I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from Helen Bevan’s workshop which I hope to take into my future practice: “The secret of success is not to foresee the future. It is to build a system that is able to prosper in any of the unforeseeable futures”.


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