Evidence of quality care

Patient Voices Network looking to improve health care in B.C.

Patients, caregivers and interested citizens from across the mid-Island are invited to learn more about the provincial Patient Voices Network.

The PVN is “a community of B.C. patients, families, caregivers and others who are using their experiences to influence change in B.C.’s health care system,” explained spokesperson April Fahr.

It is led by the non-profit ImpactBC, a patient focused organization working to improve health care through evidence-based methods, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health’s Patients as Partners program.

The two year old PVN has over 1,300 members helping improve health care at the individual and system levels and they are looking for more people with experiences in the system and a desire to help improve it.

People can get involved through the online virtual network, or as an “activated patient,” in which they get involved in peer counseling, shaping the system and/or community activation.

To become an activated patient, people attend the orientation and go through an intake interview to ensure they are a participant rather than an adversary in improving the system.

People can get involved in areas they have experience in, like a cancer patient helping with cancer issues, or in a more general way.

Through the PVN, people have been involved in things like developing the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s vision and values statement, hiring a VIHA community developer, sitting on the Cowichan Division of Family Practice Attachment Working Group (linking community members with family doctors) and participating in a forum on improving the hospital discharged process.

“Patients tell me the orientation is a really inspiring day for them, with a lot of information about how they can have a voice in health care,” said Kristine Reilkoff, Vancouver Island PVN health liaison in a news release. “Once a patient completes this session, we can help connect them to focus groups, patient advisory committees, panel discussions, conferences and other engagements that have a direct effect on health care in our community and throughout the province.”

The March 31 orientation is tailored to mid-Island residents and transportation and accommodation costs may be covered for eligible participants.

For more information or to register for the March 31 conference in Nanaimo contact www.patientvoices.ca or call 1-888-742-1772.