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Expanding in Canada: University of British Columbia IHI Open School Chapter Holds Inaugural Event

By Andrea Jones | Monday, November 26, 2012

This fall, the University of British Columbia (UBC) joined several hundred universities committed to quality improvement in health care by launching the first IHI Open School Chapter in British Columbia. We found a great deal of enthusiasm from health students and professionals alike!


In mid-November, we held our inaugural event, which featured Andrew Wray, Director Learning and Strategic Initiatives for the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council (BCPSQC), an advisory committee that supports evidence-based and patient-centered approaches to patient safety and quality improvement across the province. Approximately 35 health students and professionals attended the event at a beautiful lecture hall at Vancouver General Hospital, which was graciously provided by the UBC Faculty of Medicine.


After a period of networking, guests were ushered into the hall. Wray began with the simple, but pertinent question: What is quality? (It must be defined before we can think to improve it.) Wray provided a thoughtful overview of quality improvement and patient safety, and the importance of designing efficient systems to reduce error. He provided examples of projects currently underway across British Columbia and described the role of the BCPSQC in these projects. Guests offered thoughtful questions regarding data management and continuity of care. Wray also described a great need for student engagement in upcoming quality improvement projects in Vancouver and encouraged students to get involved – which was a great way to set the stage for future QI projects!


Following Wray’s talk, Jacqueline Singer, our IHI Open School Chapter Treasurer, and Andrea Jones, our IHI Open School Chapter President, led a case study about medical error disclosure, encouraging an open discussion that engaged the diverse expertise in the room. (Our Chapter’s executive team comprises graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of backgrounds including health administration, neuroscience, and sociology.) The case study, available as part of the numerous and invaluable resources provided by the IHI Open School, offered the opportunity to discuss the disclosure of errors that do not result in obvious harm to the patient. Guests offered interesting perspectives on potential root causes for the vaccine administration error described in the case and a UBC professor emphasized the importance of empathy in approaching difficult discussions with patients.


In future events, we hope to enhance accessibility by offering video conferencing options for students on UBC main and satellite campuses. Further, we envision the next speaker leading a case study from their own personal experience, enabling them to provide details and personal strategies for success.


We were pleased with the success of our first event and our gears are turning about future ones! We are also working to establish a strong professional network as the foundation for quality improvement projects to come in late spring/early summer.


For more information or to share any comments, please feel free to contact us at ihi.ubc@gmail.com!

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