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  • IMP students engage patients to improve healthcare

    Dec 2, 2016 | Posted by: Rhys Mahannah


    Two third-year students from the Island Medical Program (IMP) are looking to improve healthcare – not in a research lab, but in hospital wards, where they’re asking patients to speak up about their experiences.

    Meagan McKeen and Elisabeth Pharo are piloting a new patient-based survey system, called The Patient’s View, on the pediatric unit at Victoria General Hospital (VGH). The tool empowers patients to report on any issues with the care they receive – a practice that is not yet mainstream.

    “Patients and families want to report on legitimate, unreported safety concerns,” said Pharo. “But for whatever reason, this is not a common procedure. We need a healthcare model that engages patients in all aspects of care. This survey is designed to do just that.”

    McKeen and Pharo’s project is modeled after the original Patient’s View, implemented in 2012 at BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) in Vancouver, BC. There, patients reported on four key areas where problems could arise: medications, equipment, communication, and complications of care. These issues were then relayed to healthcare professionals and administrators, who used the information to improve healthcare effectiveness while decreasing provider burnout.

    “It was a major success,” said McKeen, who volunteered for the BCCH pilot project. “It gave patients a voice that positively impacted the care that they and others received.”

    The original pilot project was so successful, in fact, that it spread to every ward in BCCH and was adopted by the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, and the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England.

    The positive response has carried over to VGH, too. The Patient’s View, in its current incarnation, has been well received by patients, families, clinical staff, administrators, and volunteers who are part of the project. Its impact will be formally evaluated by the implementing team next spring.

    McKeen and Pharo recently entered their clerkship year, and so handed the project reigns to second-year IMP students Stephanie D’Aoust and Andrew Watters. Thought they’re excited for the next phase of their medical education, McKeen and Pharo will keep an eager eye on the project they feel will have a big impact.

    “Engaging in patient-centered care, feeling part of the healthcare team at VGH, empowering providers and patients to make care safer – it’s been really rewarding to be part of such an important project,” said Pharo.

    McKeen agrees: “I’m excited to see this valuable program expanding into more areas of healthcare. One day, I hope to see it adopted throughout BC and beyond.”