Working Together to Improve Emergency Services

The BC Emergency Medicine Network (BC EMN) places a huge premium on engaging patients, getting their advice and perspectives so that it can better plan and implement programs. Patient partners sit on the advisory committee and work on the network’s planning and operations.

Ten PVN members joined this team to provide input and share resources focused on emergency care that highlight what matters to patients, families and caregivers. Recently, one of the patient partners created a short video of a patient’s experience of using the emergency room during COVID-19.

“A significant portion of our website is dedicated to patient information but particularly during the pandemic, we wanted to assure patients about using the emergency room at this time,” said Nancy Wood, patient partner on the BCF EMN management team. Nancy interviewed an acquaintance, who speaks about her decision to go to the ER for a non-COVID related emergency during the pandemic. She explains her anxiety about going, the care she receives and ultimately her message to all BC patients – don’t hesitate to visit the ER during the pandemic.

The BC EMN connects BC emergency care providers with each other and BC-relevant clinical resources. Within the BC EMN, you’ll find peers sharing knowledge and supporting each other with information to improve patient care. It currently has 962 members and has included patient partners on its advisory team since its inception and on its management team since last fall. As part of its mandate, building a resource library that assists in improving emergency care across the province and sharing current practices allows practitioners to focus on providing care, without having to search around for information.

“We wanted to have a place where they could have trust and confidence in emergency medicine,” said Dr. Jim Christenson, BC EMN executive lead. “We always wanted to have patient information about emergency medicine and thought we would try this.”

Christenson noted that it’s a positive work in progress. Lisa Dyck, manager of the BC EMN, said that bringing the patient perspective has helped.

“I haven’t been surprised by the patient partner’s feedback, but it has reinforced the important relationships between patients and providers for emergency care,” she said, noting that it’s brought many new opportunities to adjust how health care and patient partners can work together on BC EMN priorities.

This partnership between health care leaders and patient partners has led them to feel like valued team members.

“Everyone on the management team feels comfortable to generate ideas,” said Wood.

The BC EMN team has worked well virtually and has conference calls every two weeks. Even during this time, emergency doctors are still making the network a priority for their time. This dedication has spurred patient partners to think creatively about how they can help.

“We want to help in any way we can,” said Wood.

It’s this type of dedication to the greater good that makes for a great partnership between patients and health care partners.

Guest-author
the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council team

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