Patient Partner Perspective: Eric Gubby Relates His PVN Experience to his Aerospace Career

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As you have may have read about on our Engagement Opportunities page (or heard about on the radio!), there are vacancies on five of Island Health’s Quality Councils. These groups meet regularly to approve new standards of care, review patient experiences, identify improvements, and celebrate successes across the Vancouver Island region. The patient partner perspective is vital on the Quality Councils to ensure that the priorities of patients, families and communities are reflected in the Councils’ decisions.

Patient partner Eric Gubby has been involved with PVN since 2012, where he has added his voice to a wide variety of projects: a study on aging, developing a five-year strategic plan, and writing explanatory brochures for surgical patients, to name just a few! We asked him to tell us a bit about his experience as a member of two of the Island Health Quality Councils:

With which Quality Councils have you been involved so far?

I am currently on two different Quality Councils (QC). I joined the Surgical Services QC on December 2016 and through that work, have been looking into technical procedure and care transition issues. Coincidentally, one of the things we looked at was a leaflet distributed to surgical patients to prepare them for surgery – this was something I had actually helped prepare as part of a Surgical Patient Education Working Group at Royal Jubilee Hospital in 2015! You know how that saying goes: “what goes around comes around!”

I recently started with the Geography 4 Quality Council earlier this year. This QC looks at a broader range of issues across a regional district and focuses on patient safety issues. Both these groups employ data analysis tools and investigatory techniques that mirror those used in the aerospace industry, where I spent my career, so they really resonate with me.

That sounds neat! Can you explain more about the similarities you see between those two experiences?

There is a lot of crossover in my volunteer work with PVN and with my career in aerospace. One is that in both instances we are concerned with continually improving our processes. When we are working with rockets, we are always looking at why something happened a certain way, which data we can gather from that event, and how to learn from it. As well, the “all systems go” philosophy and psychology applies for both: it’s important to make sure we’ve done everything to prepare beforehand, whether it’s a surgeon making a first incision or the final pre-launch checklist for a rocket.

What have you taken away from these health care volunteer experiences with PVN?

I’ve come to realize that giving patients the opportunity to work directly with health care partners allows our perspective to be factored into process development, something that can sometimes get overlooked. And it also helps us, as members of the general public, to gain a better understanding of the many issues which the health care system has to deal with.

Our public health service in BC is among the best in the world. However, we should always be looking for ways to make health care delivery more effective, and one of the most important aspects of this is seeing that patients’ needs are met effectively, in a consistent and caring way, without undue delay. As patient partners, we can help make this happen!


Thank you, Eric! If you’re interested in becoming a patient partner on one of the Quality Councils with Island Health like Eric, RSVP here. Or learn more about the Councils from the health care partner perspective with Island Health’s Catherine Marrie.

Written by Lauren McGuire-Wood

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