August VPSA/VCH leaders meeting focuses on Indigenous cultural safety

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VPSA board and staff meet monthly with VCH senior leaders. The August meeting centred on the newly formed VPSA EPIC Task Group with additional updates on diversity, equity and inclusion as well as CST implementation.

Engaging Physicians in Indigenous Cultural Safety (EPIC) Task Group

It’s well known that our province’s Indigenous peoples have worse health outcomes than its non-Indigenous citizens. The systemic racism that exists in our health system and in both acute and community settings has been part of the background to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the provincial bill to implement UNDRIP, and the In Plain Sight report.

We need to increase cultural safety for Indigenous patients and family members in both acute and community care. But how to do this? That is the mandate of the newly formed VPSA EPIC Task Group. Born from the iCON VCH Indigenous Health Rounds, the task group will prioritize and advance Indigenous cultural safety in health-care settings. It will be guided by meaningful partnerships with:

  • VCH senior leadership and Indigenous Health leadership
  • VPSA physicians
  • Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, physicians, patients, and communities
  • First Nations Health Authority
  • BC Ministry of Health
  • UBC Digital Emergency Medicine intercultural Online health Network (iCON)

Dr. Kendall Ho has been instrumental in developing the task group and will be one of its members. He outlined for the VPSA/VCH leaders meeting the group’s three key strategies for achieving its goals. These are continuing the iCON-VCH Indigenous health rounds, creating accredited educational resources, and developing a VCH Indigenous Health patient experience think tank.

VP, Indigenous Health, Leslie Bonshor and AVP, Medicine, Quality and Safety, Dr. Chad Kim Sing are the task group’s executive sponsors. Ms. Bonshor emphasized the need to highlight patients’ experience of care. The task group, she said, will aim to demonstrate improvements in Indigenous patients’ personal experience… from the moment they enter one of our sites to how they feel about the care they receive. This will guide continuous quality improvement and lead to evidence-informed policy evolution. VCH is already a provincial leader in improving Indigenous cultural safety and the task group will share its work with other health-care providers throughout the province to benefit more people.

(This task group is recruiting VPSA members. Its terms of reference are available here and the application here.)

VCH Medical Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee and Working Groups update

The goal of the DEI Committee is to advance equity and inclusion for medical staff across VCH. In recent weeks, the steering committee and its three working groups (Culture and Environment, Leadership Skills and Talent Management, Meaningful Metrics) have updated their terms of reference. The committee’s scope has now expanded to include all medical staff; a nurse practitioner now sits on the steering committee.

Recent activities included a 2SLGBTQI+ medical staff engagement survey/focus group, an Out Loud and Proud workshop, a presentation by two-spirit physician Dr. James Makokis, and VCH’s diversity survey. Throughout the summer, the committee has been using social media to highlight 2SLGBTQI+ medical staff. A summary report on the 2020 medical staff survey is close to complete.

Ongoing DEI Committee activities include a women’s discussion group, the DEI Leadership Mentoring Program, a review of VCH’s search and selection standards and practices, data analysis and the final report on the 2SLGBTQI+ engagement projects, and creating interactive dashboards to present survey results and other data.

Upcoming activities for the committee and its working groups include a DEI journal club, creating additional affinity groups, more education and skills-building events, applying for the 2023 Vancouver Pride Parade, childcare options for medical staff, advocacy for lactation spaces, and an accessibility and accommodation statement and policies for medical staff with disabilities.

CST update

Senior Medical Director Dr. Vinay Dhingra gave an update on progress towards the implementation of CST at VGH.

The technical aspects for implementation are in good form and we have entered the last stages of the system’s design and build. While there is no go-live date yet, we are on track for launch in early November. Two levels of SIT testing are complete with a third planned for an integrated workflow review. We have done all the early activities that it is possible to do.

The CST team recognizes that there will be a period during which our efficiency will go down. Based on experiences at other sites, we can expect the reduction to be about 30 per cent—some areas more, some less—for the first few weeks. VGH is in the unique position of having some regional and provincial programs where efficiency cannot be reduced. To help with this, the team is looking for additional staff.

Learning Hub emails have been sent to physicians. In-person training is a challenge with 60 per cent of all providers now registered and scheduled for this. At-elbow support will be available upon the system’s launch; a schedule for this is being put together.

Most (97%) provider champions have received their training. Demos have been given to 60 per cent of departments and divisions, and 30 per cent more have been scheduled.

The CST Task Group continues to meet monthly and three new physicians (Drs. Darren Lee, Raheem Kherani, and Geoffrey Law) have been recruited. This group is working on several engagement activities including direct interaction with the system. A virtual townhall is planned for September 28. The task group’s purpose is to support VPSA members before, during and after CST implementation. The members will continue to collect and solicit feedback and concerns and augment VPSA communications that build awareness and readiness for implementation.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the VPSA-SLT will take place on September 8 and will include discussion about VCH’s anti-racism strategy.

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