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Friday, February 15, 2013

The British Columbia Innovation and Change Agenda

By Nick Grant, Executive Director, Planning and Innovation Division, BC Ministry of Health 

In British Columbia, the Ministry of Health works with health authorities, health care providers, agencies and other organizations to guide and deliver health services for British Columbians. The province’s six health authorities are the organizations primarily responsible for health service delivery. Five regional health authorities deliver a full range of health services to meet the needs of the population within their respective geographic regions. A sixth health authority, the Provincial Health Services Authority, is responsible for managing the quality, coordination and accessibility of province-wide health programs.

Working with these system partners and other health care providers, British Columbia has introduced a province-wide strategic agenda to fundamentally change the health care system – the Innovation and Change Agenda. This transformative plan will position the health sector to better meet changing population needs and continue to deliver quality health services to British Columbians in ways that can be sustained into the future. The strategy is based on the Triple Aim Approach: improving population health; enhancing the patient and provider experiences of care; and reducing the costs of health care.

The goals of the Innovation and Change Agenda are to help people stay healthy and live active lives, to provide networks of services in communities that best manage changing health needs and to ensure high quality hospital care for those who need it. These goals are underpinned by a culture of innovation and efficiency in designing and delivering services.

The Innovation and Change Agenda is delivered through a set of medium to long-term strategies. These strategies are organized into four areas:
  1. Providing effective health promotion, prevention and self-management to improve the health and wellness of British Columbians. 
  2. Meeting the majority of health needs with high quality primary- and community-based health care and support services. 
  3. Ensuring high quality hospital care services are available when needed. 
  4. Improving innovation, productivity and efficiency in the delivery of health services. 
Under these four headings are several ‘Key Result Areas’ identifying specific areas of focus and desired changes guided by best practices - from tools for healthy living, to standardized guidelines for delivery of care, to improved procurement of medical supplies. It’s a multi-year plan and implementation rests on effective collaboration and alignment of efforts with regional health authorities and health care providers.

Progress has been made across the plan and a number of initiatives have been implemented. Examples include:
  • As part of the healthy living focus, an Informed Dining program has been introduced in participating restaurants to provide diners with nutritional information on menus. 
  • The ministry, physicians and health authorities have formally organized structures to coordinate care for target priority populations – frail seniors and people with chronic conditions or mental health needs. 
  • Clinical care guidelines have been implemented in partnership with health care providers and the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, to improve quality and consistency in the delivery of key health care services. 
  • Lean design has been used by all health authorities to improve efficiency, save resources and improve patient care. 

More information about BC’s health sector transformation, including videos and discussions, can be found at

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