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PHSA year in review: a look back at 2019

From milestones and innovations to recognition of world-class staff and programs, PHSA continues to make huge strides in health care in B.C. and beyond. This recap only tells part of our story as we move toward a healthier, stronger British Columbia.
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​Here is a small sampling of PHSA's achievements in 2019.

Best in class people, programs and projects 
  • BC Cancer successfully achieved “Accredited with Exemplary Standing,” the highest level of accreditation granted to a health care organization by Accreditation Canada. 
  • PHSA was once again recognized by peers with major provincial awards for making health care better – we were honoured with six BC Health Care Awards (2019) and two Quality Awards (2020).
  • Dr. Connie Eaves celebrated several achievements this year – she earned a BC Cancer Long Service Award for her 45 years of service (and is believed to be the longest-serving BC Cancer employee of all time), was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Gairdner Wightman Award. She capped off 2019 as one of Chatelaine’s Women of the Year amongst other “newsmakers, trendsetters, policy-makers and all-around awesome women,” joining the company of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland, Olympic athlete Tessa Virtue, and actress Sandra Oh, among others.
  • Paramedics: Life on the Line, the 10-part series showcasing the work of BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) paramedics, dispatchers and call-takers, won Best Documentary Series Program at the 2019 Leo Awards in Vancouver.
  • The Correctional Health Services Transition project, led by BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, was awarded with the Correctional Healthcare Award by the International Corrections and Prisons Association, positioning B.C. as a national leader in correctional health reform.
  • Two PHSA programs’ approaches to care were recognized as “Leading Practices” by the Health Standards Organization, a non-profit affiliate of Accreditation Canada – BC Children’s Hospital’s re-imagination of a pre-admission process to prepare children and family for surgery, and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre’s Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit Model of Care: Mother Baby Care.  
  • PHSA Communications, in partnership with HR Talent Acquisition, earned three national awards from the International Association of Business Communicators for its unique I am your nurse video campaign which captured the voices and experiences of nurse across our organization and the province for Nursing Week. I am your nurse is PHSA’s most popular Facebook post ever, reaching 1.2 million people.
Milestones by the numbers
  • 6:00 a.m.
    After months of hard work and careful planning, on Sunday, December 8, at 6:00 a.m., the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction became the first PHSA site to start using CST Cerner, switching from paper-based charts and old systems to using a new clinical information system to improve patient care. 
  • First
    On June 27, Cochlear Implants Services at BC Children’s Hospital launched the first virtual care clinic in Canada for patients and families. BC Children’s audiologists can now program cochlear implants virtually through a computer and conduct the appointment by video conference with patients in their home communities.
  • 5,000/50/300
    Five thousand people in B.C. are alive today because of organ transplants, thanks to BC Transplant and the expertise of all health professionals involved in organ donation and transplant, as well as the dedication of British Columbians who choose to donate. BC Transplant also celebrated 50 years of organ donation and transplant this year, and BC Children’s performed its 300th kidney transplant.
  • 200,000+
    The BC Centre for Disease Control played a key role in responding to the measles outbreak earlier this year and the subsequent measles vaccine catch-up campaign in schools, sourcing and distributing more than 204,000 doses of measles containing vaccine across the province.
  • 20
    BC Cancer’s Genome Sciences Centre celebrated 20 years of innovation and cutting-edge research in genomics, bioinformatics and molecular biology technology development. 
  • 1,000+
    In 2019, the Compass program at BC Children’s celebrated not only its first year of service but also its impact on more than 1,000 children and youth with mental health and substance use issues across B.C. Compass is the first of its kind in Canada and is a telephone resource for primary care providers who care for children and youth with mental health and substance use concerns under the age of 25.
  • $10 million
    Dr. Gina Ogilvie, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre physician and researcher, will lead national cervical cancer research supported by an investment of $10 million over 5 years from the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 
  • 50,000
    PHSA has distributed more than 175,000 life-saving naloxone kits across the province through the Take Home Naloxone program. At least 50,000 kits have been used to reverse opioid overdoses.
  • $134 million+
    With external research funding of more than $134 million, PHSA continues to be one of Canada’s largest academic health science organizations.
Paving the way in cancer care
  • Cancer patients on Vancouver Island can stay close to home with a new state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner suite at BC Cancer – Victoria. Previously, patients had to travel to the Lower Mainland to receive their cancer-related PET/CT scans. 
  • Drs. Poul Sorensen, Karen Gelmon, Brad Nelson, Samuel Aparicio, Gregg Morin and Shoukat Dedhar were invited to be part of a national group of cancer care researchers and clinicians tasked to investigate a new way to help stop the spread of breast cancer, forming a Canadian metastatic cancer “Dream Team.”
  • BC Cancer-led trials and studies have continued to make a huge difference for patients and their treatment, prognosis and quality of life, such as the clinical trial led by Dr. Kim Chi that demonstrated a 33 per cent reduction in the risk of prostate cancer death. 
Transforming child health 
Strengthening emergency services
  • Paramedic specialists are helping ensure British Columbians with complex medical emergencies get the best care possible – this new program was formalized this year and has 20 advanced care and critical care paramedics serving the province, providing an extra layer of clinical and technical expertise.
  • A palliative care training program was introduced in Kamloops this summer, giving paramedics the option of caring for a patient and not having to transport to hospital. 
  • This fall, BCEHS announced the successful transition of all patient care records from paper to digital in all ambulance stations, with more than 3,900 paramedics fully trained in using the new technology and software.
Expanding and improving health care – for everyone
  • The Surgical Services teams at BC Children’s, BC Women’s and BC Cancer worked collaboratively to address waitlists and optimize surgical services resources. The teams exceeded last year’s target by 14 per cent, performing more than 1,300 additional surgeries – leading to better access and faster care. 
  • The Gender Surgery Program of B.C. opened at Vancouver General Hospital in September 2019 with client consults beginning on October. The opening of this clinic addresses an unmet need identified in PHSA’s Trans Care Plan and will ensure this population receives the full range of care in B.C.
  • BCCDC led research included in the Blueprint to Inform Hepatitis C Elimination Efforts in Canada, supporting the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating the disease by 2030.
  • The Centre for Pelvic Pain & Endometriosis at BC Women’s launched Canada’s first high school-based endometriosis lessons. The lessons are part of a research study to find better ways of raising awareness of endometriosis and menstrual health among young Canadians.
  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most common inherited renal disorder, and the fourth leading cause of end-stage renal disease in Canada. To better support ADPKD patients, BC Renal developed the first comprehensive provincial registry, including data on patient demographics, clinical characteristics, treatments and outcomes, as well as multiple tools, patient resources and best practice guidelines.  
  • Perinatal Services BC announced the launch of a new web-based Perinatal Data Registry (PDR) system. The software is designed to facilitate the collection of high quality perinatal data and to accommodate future data collection needs for perinatal planning, monitoring and evaluation to improve the provision of care to mothers and babies in the province. 
PHSA's role in health care is evolving, and as rewarding as it is to look back at all we've accomplished, it's even more exciting to think ahead about what's to come. Thank you for being part of our story.
SOURCE: PHSA year in review: a look back at 2019 ( )
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