Moving the dial

dialWhat does it take to build a health system where quality and improvement are embedded into everything we do?

That’s the meaty question asked – and answered – in a newly-released Progress Report from the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. The Council has a provincial role in facilitating efforts and leading initiatives to enhance patient safety, reduce errors, promote transparency and identify best practices to improve patient care.

The Council approached me to help them write this 50+ page document, which synthesizes 18 months of steady progress in key strategic areas. It was a great experience to work again with this fantastic team. Read What Does it Take? A report to our partners.

A few things were particularly interesting to me as a “voyeur” into the Council’s activities: first, I was struck by how much building this organization has already done – the relationships, the programs, the workshops, the collaborations – with stakeholders across BC and beyond. This is one focused and busy organization!

From a broader perspective, it reminded me that big change really does take time to build momentum and gain traction, and that sustainable progress can’t be driven by a single organization. The Council is quick to point out that it isn’t “in charge” of health quality – instead, its role is to offer the support, resources and provincial leadership that its stakeholders say they need to advance local efforts to improve health quality. Clearly, this collaborative approach takes longer, but it just seems like such a sensible way to go about it!

I’ve also witnessed how the Council has jumped head-first into digital communications to engage a diverse range of stakeholders. Beyond its recently-redesigned website, the Council uses a host of online tools including Twitter, an e-newsletter, an electronic community of practice, Youtube, Vimeo, SlideShare, Flickr and Storify. These tools can overcome geographic barriers and they offer a vast on-demand catalogue of health quality resources for anyone who wants them. They also help to build ongoing conversations and knowledge exchange. This is a great example of an organization selectively using online communications to support its strategic goals.

Photo courtesy of Pete

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Alison Osborne

Communication strategist at Monkey Hill Health Communications
Alison is a BC-based health communicator and certified Knowledge Translation Professional who works with a variety of health, research and non-profit organizations. She is co-owner of Monkey Hill Health Communications and a co-founder of Knowledge Communicators.

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