The spirit of teamwork that once defined the culture of hospitals is on the road to renewal through BC’s Facility Engagement Initiative.
“When I look back to the ‘80s, I worked in hospitals where physicians were leaders and had good relationships with staff and administration,” says Dr. Dayan Muthayan, Executive Medical Director for Fraser Health. “Then through the '90s, we saw a deterioration of relationships universally when health care became more about the bottom line. Physicians started feeling pushed away or withdrew from decision-making and leadership,” he says.
“So it is encouraging now to see a resurgence towards engaging staff and physicians, while putting the patient in the centre and trying to make the health system better.” Meaningful physician partnerships are critical to support the delivery of quality patient care, as well as province-wide efforts to create an integrated, patient-centered health care system.
BC is not alone. Across Canada, pressures on health care budgets have led to countless rounds of change and organizational redesign in health systems, which have also taken a toll on collaborative relationships between physicians, hospital administrators, and health authorities.
Here in our province, Facility Engagement aims to change that. To date, medical staff associations in 67 acute care sites across BC have joined the initiative, to lead activities to strengthen relationships and communication with colleagues and health authorities, increase involvement in decision-making, and improve their working environment and patient care. Read stories about Facility Engagement in action.
“I think there is a gradual sense of movement forward, and physicians are coming to the table more enthusiastically. And I think the fact that they feel they are being heard will help drive this to higher level. It will be exciting to see where we could be over the next two years.”
Facility Engagement is an initiative of the Specialist Services Committee, one of four joint collaborative committees that represent a partnership of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.