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Our inaugural PHSA Virtual Health Forum was a success!

How do you build on the virtual health community to re-imagine health care? Host a forum and invite leaders in virtual health to dialogue, share successes, challenges and breakthroughs! 

On Friday, November 2, leaders from PHSA programs and neighbouring health authorities gathered at the Chan Centre for Family Health Education for the inaugural PHSA Virtual Health Forum. The event was a timely opportunity to mark Digital Health Week (November 12-18), an annual celebration and recognition of how digital (or virtual) health is transforming the delivery of care across Canada. 

The forum featured presentations from leaders at PHSA who are currently integrating virtual health into their clinical services and who shared the lessons they have learned from their initiatives. It also hosted two panel discussions in which PHSA leaders responded to questions about how they are helping to drive our virtual health strategy at PHSA. 

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Morning panel discussion: PHSA leaders share how they are helping to drive the strategy for virtual health at PHSA.

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Devon Haag, program manager, BC Centre for Disease Control, outlined the Get Checked Online program, an initiative that BCCDC and the OVH have worked on closely together.

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Afternoon panel discussion provided practical information on how OVH supports integration of virtual health, and how to plan for integration into PHSA programs.

For the names of all the presenters and panel discussion members, please see the full list at the end of this article.  

Using technology to optimize experiences

Just as virtual health uses technology to optimize wellness and outcomes, the forum used technology to share the experience beyond the Chan Centre. For those who couldn’t attend the forum in person, the event was webcast live so they could join virtually from anywhere. Attendees used the designated hashtag #VirtualHealthForum to share their experience on social media, and at one point made it a trending topic on Twitter in Vancouver.

Positive feedback

Feedback on the forum from presenters and attendees shows a high level of excitement and interest in how PHSA is moving forward with virtual health. Comments included:

“The event was a great exhibition of the service that the Office of Virtual Health offers to all of the partners within PHSA. Furthermore, this was an amazing opportunity to showcase all of the exciting virtual innovations that are happening within PHSA.”
-Ole Olsen, paramedic practice leader, BC Emergency Health Services, Clinical and Professional Practice

“The Virtual Health Forum was really informative. It was a great opportunity to learn the successes and experience from other clinics and services throughout PHSA.” 
-Celia Phun, health record technician, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre

“It was a fantastic event. Thank you for the opportunity to learn, share and connect on virtual health.”
-Cassie Brydon, manager, BC Women’s Hospital

“The forum was great opportunity to network and share information about virtual health with our PHSA partners and Health Authority partners.”
- Ron Quirk, chief information officer, IMITS

“It was really informative and inspiring to learn about all the Virtual Health experiences and initiatives from very different clinical programs/organizations across PHSA and beyond, and knowing that we are all in some way contributing to the transformation of health care aiming to best meet the patient and provider needs of today and the future.” 
- Kelly E. Nystedt, senior director, Regional Clinical Operations, BC Cancer-Victoria

“(Virtual health) is breaking new ground in terms of how we define care. We live in a digital world. Treatment doesn’t have to be face-to-face to be effective.”
-Kim Korf-Uzan, director, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services

The OVH team extends a sincere thank you to all those who presented and participated in panel discussions.

  • Bernice Budz, vice president patient experience and interprofessional practice, BC Cancer
  • Cheryl Davies, chief operating officer, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre
  • Kendra McPherson, chief strategist, Health Service Planning, Integration and Results Realization
  • Linda Lupini, executive vice president, PHSA and BC Emergency Health Services, VHAC Chair
  • Lynn Pelletier, vice president, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services 
  • Maureen O’Donnell, executive director, Child Health BC 
  • Ron Quirk, chief information officer, IMITS
  • Cassie Brydon, manager, BC Women’s Hospital
  • Celia Phun, health record technician, Complex Chronic Diseases Program, BC Women’s Hospital
  • Devon Haag, program manager, BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Joe Acker, director, BC Emergency Health Services
  • Michelle Brittain, project manager, BC Emergency Health Services
  • Kelly Nystedt, senior director, BC Cancer
  • Kim Benham, manager, BC Cancer
  • Kit Johnson, provincial director, BC Children’s Hospital
  • Anna Bloomfield, manager, BC Women’s Hospital
  • Kim Korf-Uzan, director, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services
  • Kiran Malli, director, Patient Language Services
  • Morenike Akinyemi, project manager, Office of Virtual Health
  • Ying Jiang, project manager, Office of Virtual Health
  • Michele Fryer, director, Office of Virtual Health
  • Fraser Ratchford, group director, ACCESS e-services, Canada Health Infoway (Toronto, ON)
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