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Because your voice matters.

Health Care Partner Perspective: BC Emergency Medicine Network

Posted • Last updated

Categories: My Experience

We were recently given the chance to connect with BC Emergency Medicine Network to discuss their recent work with PVN.

The BC Emergency Medicine Network connects emergency practitioners from across the province and provides them with tools and resources to support their work. This important organization has partnered with the Patient Voices Network for the last 15 months to incorporate the patient perspective into their health care improvement efforts.

Recently, we connected with Sharla Drebit, the Network Manager. In this blog article, Sharla shares about BC Emergency Medicine Network’s relationship with PVN, and the importance of including patients in research, both as partners and as authors!

In your own words, what does BC Emergency Medicine Network do?

We connect all emergency practitioners across BC with each other and with tools and knowledge to support their practice. It is a support system for practitioners, so no matter where you are practicing, you have access to the latest information in emergency medicine and can connect with your peers to discuss topics in emergency medicine, as well as any challenges you may be having.

What is your position with BC Emergency Medicine Network?

As the Network Manager, I support each of the four programs of the Network: Clinical Resources, Innovation/Research, Continuing Professional Development and Real-Time Support. My goal is to connect all practitioners across the province through the website, and to find opportunities for linkages and knowledge sharing. I manage our communications, website operations, patient engagement, reporting, finances, as well as whatever else comes my way!

As we are still in the early stages of the Network (launched September 12, 2017), a large focus is still on awareness and promotion of the Network, as well as soliciting feedback from the community (providers, patients and decision makers) about where we should focus our efforts and how we can improve.

How long has your organization been working with the Patient Voices Network? Why did you decide to become a health care partner? 

We’ve been working with PVN for 15 months. One of our sponsors, the BC SUPPORT Unit, introduced us to PVN when we were starting to engage patients in the Network. It has been a fantastic working relationship!

Why do you think it’s important to include the patient perspective in your work at the Network?

BC Emergency Medicine Network Advisory Committee
BC Emergency Medicine Network Advisory Committee

Ultimately, what we do, we do for the patients. Patients need to be at the table when planning or implementing projects and initiatives that affect their care. Patients bring a new perspective to the table that is often forgotten when we have our research hat on – even though we’ve likely all been patients or caregivers at one point.

It’s been a wonderful experience (and a lot of fun!) working with our patient partners in the Network. Currently, we have four patients involved and they all bring a unique view to the table from their lived experience accessing emergency care across the province. I’m very grateful for the ideas, dedication and enthusiasm each of them have brought to the Network.

What changes have you made as a result of your patient engagement efforts?

Our patient partners suggested that we implement a feature that would allow us to text or email patient discharge information sheets to our patients rather than give them paper copies. They pointed out that paper copies are often lost, leaving patients without access to their discharge information. We appreciated the feedback and have now added this feature to our website! Our patient partners are also currently reviewing the patient information sheets to make sure they are useful, understandable and informative for patients. We will be revising the sheets based on their feedback.

What is the best thing about working with PVN volunteers? 

The patient partners that volunteer with the Network have been wonderful. They bring a fresh perspective to the table and are so supportive and encouraging of the work we do. The patient partners are always looking for more ways to contribute to the Network – sometimes we can’t keep up! But we consider that a good thing!

Are there any highlights of your time working with patient partners?

We recently published an article about the Network in Cureus that featured two of our patient partners as authors (read the article here). One patient partner told us that being included as an author was a true testament to authentic patient engagement and equal partnership.

From our perspective, it seemed obvious that we would ask patient partners to write the paragraph about our patient engagement activities within the Network, but I think it is still rather rare in the academic world to have patients as authors. It would be great to see more studies involve patients in their publications.

What are your hopes for patient engagement efforts in the future?

I’d love to see more of the population represented through patient partners, for example: rural/indigenous/youth/other vulnerable populations.

Can you tell us more about yourself? What is your life like outside of work hours?

BurgerWe recently got a French Bulldog puppy named Burger. He is the cutest and definitely stealing all of our attention. We’re excited to take him hiking this summer. My other hobbies include camping, travelling, cooking (especially while travelling – love trying new foods) and spinning (cycling, not yarn!).


Make sure to keep an eye on our engagement opportunities page for chances to volunteer with BC Emergency Medicine Network!

Author: Sharla Drebit

From Our Community

Lucie Neliba

Patient Partner, Surrey

Lucie Neliba

The Patient Voices Network has connected me to a community with the same drive to bring person- and family-centred care to the forefront. I am grateful for all opportunities I have been a part of thanks to PVN, which positively impacts patients like my sister and their caregivers. No matter how small, all patient engagement will help shape the future of health care and that I can stand behind