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NEWS RELEASE · 16th April 2011
Northern Health
Northern Health board discusses quality improvements – Northeast leading the way
The Northern Health Board of Directors held its latest regular meeting in Dawson Creek, where directors heard that the Northeast is leading the way on development of the Pharmacy Medication Reconciliation system.

Medication Reconciliation is a process where healthcare professionals partner with clients, their families and caregivers to ensure the accurate and complete transfer of medication information when a patient’s care transitions to a new setting or practitioner. This work was recently recognized at the provincial level by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council Award, for its ability to substantially reduce medication errors and improve patient safety.

The board also discussed LEAN projects being done across the organization. LEAN is a quality improvement approach, used to identify improvements to services and processes to benefit patients and reduce costs. 33 NH projects have been completed over the last two years, focusing on areas like surgical waitlist management, health records management, patient way-finding, emergency room and policy review processes, and medical reconciliation systems.

“These projects lead to improvements that directly affect patient navigation and care”, said Dr. Charles Jago, chair of the NH Board. “The work being done by these cross-functional teams throughout the region reflect our commitment to high-quality, integrated services across the North.”

The board also heard about primary care work that is focusing on six northern communities; Prince Rupert, Fraser Lake, Prince George, Mackenzie, Valemount, and Fort St John. This work is aimed at fundamentally shifting how sustainable health services are designed for communities. The planning requires broad community, staff and physician input and engagement and will grow into other NH communities in the future.

Physician recruitment was also a key focus of the meeting. Northern Health has filled an important physician recruitment lead position and new recruitment marketing initiatives will be launched soon.

“Our work in primary care, supported by our physician recruitment efforts, will improve health services in our communities”, said Cathy Ulrich, Northern Health CEO. “We are building true partnerships with our physicians, our staff and the communities in which they work.”

In addition, the board received a report on Aboriginal Health focusing on the Aboriginal Patient Liaison Worker role. Liaison workers at several NH care facilities have been very successful in helping aboriginal people navigate the health system.

The latest report from NH’s Chief Financial Officer continued to forecast a small surplus that is expected to continue to the final year-end audit report.

The next NH board meeting will be held June 13th and 14th in Prince Rupert.