The University Hospital of Northern British Columbia has been experiencing a year-by-year increase in acuity level of patients cared for by internal medicine services.
As a proactive measure to build and sustain capacity, and ensure these patients continue to receive high quality inpatient and outpatient care, members of the Department of Internal Medicine, Northern Health Authority and other physicians and stakeholders have embarked a three-point plan. It includes:
- Enhanced inpatient general internal medicine services, delivered by a multi-disciplinary team, to support patient admissions seven days a week.
- Coordinated outpatient care that includes clinics where there is little delay between when a patient is referred and seen for a consultation.
- Expanded weekday general internal medicine consultation services to support patients across the region using a broad range of distance services, such as video consults.
The plan, which will take about two years to implement, aims to improve the quality of care in both inpatient and outpatient settings. It will double the capacity of inpatient care, to sustain the availability of those services when needed. At the same time, it will establish a robust system of outpatient care to promote diagnoses of patients, and ensure they can get the care they need outside of the hospital, which in turn can reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the first place.
The three components of the model provide a comprehensive solution to the unique challenges faced by the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia. A fulsome evaluation plan has been developed collaboratively by the physicians and health authority to measure progress and impact.
It is expected that the fruitful partnership of physicians working closely with health authority administrators to find solutions and develop a plan, will be one of the key success factors of this initiative. There have been numerous partners with this initiative including the Prince George Medical Staff Physician Association: Drs. Amin Lakhani, Firas Mansour, Sharla Olson, Anurag Singh, John Smith and Northern Health: Anne Chisholm (Health Service Administrator) and Julie Dhaliwal (Community Services Manager)
Pictured above from left to right is: Dr. Firas Mansour, Dr. John Smith, and Dr. Anurag Singh