16 March 2023

VANCOUVER – From breaking down language barriers to bringing books to newborns, the winners are in. The BC Patient Safety & Quality Council is pleased to announce the 19 winners and runners up of the 2023 BC Quality Awards.

“This year’s winners and runners up are inspirational for the work they do every day to make the lives of people living in British Columbia better,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “It’s a pleasure to see the spotlight shine on the people who deserve it. On behalf of the Province, I congratulate all the winners and runners up, and I thank them for their dedication and passion for quality health care.”

The BC Quality Awards, presented by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council, recognizes the people and projects that have improved the quality of care in British Columbia. This year, six projects and four individuals are winners in their categories.

This includes the Virtual Interpreter Program which connects non-English speaking patients and their health care providers to a live interpreter in less than one minute through a tablet. The Virtual Interpreter allows health care providers to fully explain a patient’s condition and treatment plan and helps patients better understand their condition and care plans, leading to better outcomes. For example, the program has shown to reduce readmission rates to hospitals as patients understood and could follow their discharge plans, allowing them to heal at home.

“With our health care system on the front lines of one challenge after another, the last few years have been tough on us all,” said Christina Krause, CEO, BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. “Through it all, I’ve remained constantly in awe of the conviction and commitment that staff have to improve quality. The Quality Awards is always a bright spot in my year as we get the chance to highlight and share these innovative projects with the province – congratulations to all the winners and runners up!”

Winners are awarded a $2,500 sponsorship to help support and disseminate learning from their projects or to support ongoing learning and development.

The BC Quality Awards recognize inspiring individuals, including patients and caregivers as well as health care practitioners in four categories: Quality Culture Trailblazer, Everyday Champion,  Leadership in Advancing the Patient Voice, and The Doug Cochrane Leadership in Quality Award.

“Being a Council member is something I take a lot of joy and pride in,” said Devin Harris, Chair, BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. “A big part of that is because I get to meet people like the ones recognized through this year’s BC Quality Awards. The people celebrated through these awards make such an incredible impact – they change people’s lives and inspire us all to keep doing better.”

The Awards also recognize projects in five Excellence in Quality categories: Optimizing the Early Years, Strengthening Health & Wellness, Returning to Health & Wellness, Living with Illness or Disability, and Coping with Transition from Life. Since 2009, the BC Quality Awards has celebrated more than 100 people and projects from across British Columbia.

The BC Patient Safety & Quality Council provides system-wide leadership to efforts designed to improve the quality of health care in British Columbia. Through collaborative partnerships with health authorities, patients, and those working within the health care system, the Council promotes and informs a provincially coordinated, patient-centred approach to quality.

Now in its 15th year, the Council has brought BC’s sepsis occurrence and mortality rates from the highest in Canada to the lowest. The Council has also developed principles to guide an Indigenous Patient Feedback Process, a first of its kind in Canada. As well, over the course of the pandemic the Council provided quality improvement training to 198 long-term care homes to help people in care stay healthier, longer.

Learn More:

Full summaries of the winners and runners-up can be found at: healthqualitybc.ca/quality-awards/.

To learn more about the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council: healthqualitybc.ca

To learn more about the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council’s impact: https://healthqualitybc.ca/resources/impact-report-2022/

BC Quality Award Winners and Runners-Up:

Excellence in Quality: Optimizing the Early Years

Winner: Roots to Read – Newborn Literacy Program

Nanaimo, Island Health

Roots to Read is a program that educates, equips and empowers families in Nanaimo with information and tools to promote literacy and language development in their child, beginning at birth – because the way families interact with their children from the moment they are born matters immensely to how they develop language and interact socially.

Excellence in Quality: Strengthening Health & Wellness

Winner: Real-Time Virtual Support Network & The First Nations Virtual Care Initiatives

(joint winners)

First Nations Health Authority, the Rural Coordination Centre of BC, and others

The Real-Time Virtual Support Network is a team-based, wrap-around service that links rural health care providers and patients to virtual physicians, psychiatrists, mental health clinicians, care coordinators and specialists via Zoom videoconferencing or telephone. It also offers multiple ways for patients and providers to access culturally safe care and support.

Runner-up: Outreach Urban Health Clinic

Kelowna, Interior Health

The Outreach Urban Health Clinic is an innovative clinic that provides primary care, mental health and harm reduction in one location – these services were previously dispersed across different locations.

Excellence in Quality: Strengthening Health & Wellness – COVID-19

Winner: The COVID-19 Rapid Response Team

BC Centre for Disease Control

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Team is a robust suite of provincial health services, staffed by 824 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, contact tracers, data entry clerks, operations staff, and clinical and non-clinical leaders. It supported the entire province by providing key critical COVID-19 services, ensuring the availability and accessibility of care across BC when it was needed most.

Runner-up: PPE Testing Laboratory
Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health

Located at Vancouver General Hospital, the PPE Testing Laboratory has become the Canadian leader in personal protective equipment (PPE) testing solutions, ensuring its quality for BC health care workers, and supporting Canadian PPE manufacturers to strengthen national PPE supplies.

Excellence in Quality: Returning to Health & Wellness

Winner: The Virtual Interpreter

Vancouver Coastal Health

The Virtual Interpreter provides on-demand, live medical interpreters through a wi-fi enabled tablet in care locations across the health authority. It has led to better care decisions and outcomes for patients who have benefited from its use.

Runner-up: Connect and Recover Injury Management Program

BC Emergency Health Services, Provincial Health Services Authority

Connect and Recover is an injury management program that empowers injured paramedics to determine what they need for their best and fastest recovery. Connect and Recover has seen paramedics return more quickly to work so they can continue to provide the best emergency care for people in BC.

Excellence in Quality: Living with Illness or Disability

Winner: St. Paul’s Remote Cochlear Implant Program

Vancouver, Providence Health

The Remote Cochlear Implant Program at St. Paul’s Hospital enables implant recipients to undergo mapping of the device through a virtual platform. It means patients outside of Greater Vancouver either no longer need to leave their home community for follow-up visits, or have a closer health care centre for their appointments.

Runner-up: Reducing Medication Administration Times at Queen’s Park Care Centre

New Westminster, Fraser Health

A multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, care aides, pharmacists, clinical nurse educators and quality improvement nurses had a goal: To reduce the time it takes to administer morning medications by just three minutes per resident by Oct. 31, 2021. They were successful and their achievement helped make more time for resident care.

Excellence in Quality: Coping with Transition from Life

Winner: The Indigenous Palliative Care Projects

Vancouver Coastal Health (Coastal) in partnership with Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Through the Indigenous Palliative Care Projects, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Vancouver Coastal Health identified gaps, barriers and priorities to improving palliative care services. With this information in hand, they set a plan in motion to integrate VCH and Tsleil-Waututh Nation resources so that individuals are fully supported in their final journey.

Runner-up: Reducing Patient Transfers between Banfield Pavilion and Vancouver General Hospital

Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health

The Banfield Pavilion health care team successfully reduced the number of transfers of its long-term care residents to the Vancouver General Hospital emergency department. They were seeing six to 10 transfers each month, many of which were not medically necessary and likely avoidable.

Doug Cochrane Leadership in Quality Award

Winner: Bill Clifford, Retired Chief Medical Information Officer

Prince George, Northern Health

Described by colleagues as a visionary leader, innovator, mentor, genius, and one-half physician/one-half IT techie, Bill Clifford is the cultivator of the health information technology that physicians across BC use to improve patient care – a user-friendly, electronic medical record system called the Medical Office Information System, which he launched in 1990.

Runner-up: Kelly Mayson, Anesthesiologist

Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health

While she has been involved in many quality improvement initiatives over the years, there are two that feed Dr. Kelly Mayson’s passion for improving patient outcomes by focusing on care before and after surgery – the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) initiative, and the provincial Surgical Patient Optimization Collaborative (SPOC).

Everyday Champion

Winner: Viva Swanson

Advisor, Leadership Development NE

Fort St. John, Northern Health

Viva Swanson’s work has significantly improved how people are cared for in BC’s northeastern communities, which are among the most culturally diverse and remote in the province, with residents facing daily challenges accessing health care.

Runner-up: Sara Waters, Clinical Education Lead for Anesthesia at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Island Medical Program

Victoria, Island Health

Sara Waters creates avenues for team building to occur, spearheading social events that bring together surgical teams, including nurses, physicians, radiologists, anesthesiologists, anesthetic assistants, and porters. The result – a sense of community and camaraderie that has paid dividends in the operating room.

Quality Culture Trailblazer

Winner: Elizabeth Baron, Regional Director, Experience in Care, Vancouver General Hospital

Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health

Elizabeth (Liz) Baron is a regional director for VCH’s Experience in Care program – a program she pioneered. She built a comprehensive strategy for improving care experiences that centres on human connections and fostering a culture where everyone feels valued and empowered to make a positive impact.

Runner-up: Shyr Chui, Radiologist and Past Physician Quality Improvement Co-chair
Prince George, Northern Health

As Regional Medical Lead of Diagnostic Imaging from 2014-19, Dr. Shyr Chui helped transform the culture of Regional radiology by introducing a Joy in Work initiative into his own department, inspired by work at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), engaging the team, generating change ideas and measuring their impact on joy in work in the department.

Leadership in Advancing the Patient Voice

Winner: Michel White, Patient Advisor

Fraser Health

Michel has been an outspoken advocate for including the patient voice in health care since volunteering with the Patient Voices Network in 2008. Over the years, she has added her insights to many initiatives, particularly Fraser Health’s Physician Quality Improvement program, originally as a patient advisor for individual projects and then as a PQI Steering Committee member, enabling her to add the voice of the patient to decisions affecting quality improvement throughout the health authority.

Runner-up: Christopher Stuart, Physician

Victoria, Island Health

Christopher Stuart leads collaboratively, bringing together care providers to form a team around his patients – with his patients as the most important team member. He develops respectful relationships between patients, caregivers and practitioners, with humility and transparency.