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Because your voice matters.

A Patient Partner’s Experience at the National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care

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Categories: My Experience

A few weeks ago, our patient partner Edwina Nearhood wrote a guest post about what she was looking forward to learning at the National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care. Edwina was very excited about attending the conference and, in this follow-up post, she tells us what the experience was like:

The conference took place in Orlando, Florida, from December 4 to 7. Edwina was able to attend the event through her engagement opportunity with the Northern Health/Specialist Services Committee’s Regional Quality Improvement Steering Committee.

“First of all, I must say that I am very honoured to have been one of the 25 volunteers representing the patient voice at this function with over 5,000 attendees.

I have put on my new hat as a patient representative over the past several months, so it was my hope that attending this forum would help build a strong foundation on how to, as a patient, offer the best form of leadership driven from my experience and patient perspective. I attended two networking events, one for Canadian participants and one promoted by Doctors of BC. Both of them were very important for me to meet other patient partners, administrators and doctors that I will be collaborating with. I was able to connect and learn a lot from the experiences of others!

Patient Partners at the IHI Conference in Orlando 2016
Many sessions in the conference were dedicated to the importance of patient partners and their perspective in health care

The National Forum keynote speakers were incredible: many doctors and leaders in their fields of experience. Even an astronaut! Many common threads were woven throughout the week of events, including: small increments of success can overcome large hurdles; the patient perspective of “nothing about me without me;” co-designing care with  the patient voice; and, in primary care, focusing on the art of communicating. Listen, talk, listen. It became very evident to me that the systematic approach to health care has taken the first responders away from the patient, to the point that patients are no longer present or involved in their health care.

The week was completed by a keynote bringing on stage a panel of European doctors and patients who were fully involved in their kidney dialysis. The doctors had trained those patients to insert needles and perform all the necessary rituals, giving them back the control of their lives, with absolute success! One of the many loud messages of bringing patients and ritual back into health care was prevalent: respect of the patient for the patient.

There were many opportunities for discussions and learning over the week. I have a notebook filled with inspiration and contacts. Several of the presenters and co-facilitators on many occasions checked back with me to ensure that I knew that they were accessible as future resources. The Forum has an onsite app that allows participants to access all presentations for future reference. I am beyond pleased at having the opportunity to work with industry innovators and leaders!

Edwina Nearhood.PVN volunteer.Orlando Florida 2016
After a full day of learning, a fair break to enjoy Disney World a little!

My main take back, as I mentioned earlier, is “Nothing about me without me,” but on a more personal level – leaders lead, teachers teach and innovators listen in the co-design process. Thank you Doctors of BC and PVN for allowing me this incredible opportunity which I am certain is the beginning of a journey as a patient advisor. Now I’m looking forward to attending the Quality Forum in Vancouver coming up March 2017! Hope to see you all there!”

Author: Edwina Nearhood

Edwina Nearhood is a PVN Patient Partner who feels very happy to be involved in helping change happen through positive support and feedback. She is a small business owner operating an independent appraisal firm. In her spare time her passion is yoga, and she believes that balance in life offers seeds for success, in wellness, family, relationships, community, opportunity and living!

From Our Community

Karla Warkotsch

Patient Experience Consultant – Interior Health

Karla Warkotsch

The question I like to ask health care employees is ‘Who is this for?’ and ‘Do we have the right people at the table?’ As a health care employee, I see how easy it is to fall into doing for, rather than doing with patients. The voices of the patient, family and caregiver are essential to ensure the patient is central to the direction and focus of the work being done.