Dr. Joshua Tepper and Gail Paech
To improve any health care system change must occur.
Change can be incremental or dramatic, but without it we cannot improve the quality of the health care system in Ontario or the health of those who live here. Individuals and teams who work within the health care system must feel empowered to make changes that can make a difference. So today we are asking you: what would you change?
Built on a foundation of individual pledges, Change Day Ontario is a campaign that is sponsored jointly by Health Quality Ontario and Associated Medical Services (AMS Healthcare) to empower people to make a difference. It is intended to promote a culture of compassionate quality care across the health system and create a positive dialogue for a healthcare community who are passionate about delivering better care. These are all features of a high-quality health care system as set out in Quality Matters: Realizing Excellent Care for All, a call to action for advancing quality in our health care system.
These features are also the goals of the AMS Phoenix Project. The project brings compassionate care to the forefront of healthcare education and practice. It focuses on improving person-centred care and provider wellness/resilience through research, education and workplace innovations.
Change Day began in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2013 and has since spread to 17 countries. In Canada, Ontario will be holding Change Day, as will Alberta and British Columbia.
The UK initiative was started by Helen Bevan and a group of doctors who wanted to help empower those within the National Health Service (NHS) to respond to some of the financial pressures and morale issues plaguing the NHS at the time. “[Change Day] provided an opportunity to transform people’s anger or frustration into constructive action,” says a report about the initial 2013 event, which notes it was the biggest day of collective action for improvement in the history of the NHS. Many see the pressures and frustrations which produced that response from those in the NHS in 2013 are currently mirrored here in Ontario, and Change Day is an opportunity to positively address this.
Starting today, we are asking anyone who has first-hand experience with the health care system in Ontario to make a pledge. Over the next two months the campaign will be ongoing. On Nov. 17 we will celebrate these efforts and then identify key successes and learnings that can be shared.
A pledge can be anything that improves your health or well-being, the health of your patients, or the system within which you work. No pledge is too small as long as the intent is to improve compassionate quality care for your patients or yourself.
Pledges are limited only by the imagination of those who participate. It might involve anything from committing to exercise more to shadowing a colleague to better understand their role in the system. People are welcome to sign on to other people’s pledges or commit to something that was already planned. Some pledges from earlier Change Day campaigns have resulted in systemic quality improvements to address issues such as sepsis and have improved compassionate patient care, including the wildly successful #hellomynameis campaign that started a movement of its own within the NHS.
Change Day is about people engaging with one another through their ideas and stories; sharing them online and through social media; overcoming barriers; and ultimately, helping to improve the experience of health care for patients and providers alike.
Your pledge may seem small but the collective impact of Change Day is anything but. Experience with Change Day in other jurisdictions and countries has shown the power of multiple pledges to have a positive impact not just on those who participate, but on the system as a whole.
An assessment of B.C.’s first Change Day campaign in 2015 found that 89% of surveyed participants acted on their pledge (and another 8% said they were working on it)
Getting front line providers and patients involved in creating change is a good idea. Dr. Danielle Martin, best-selling author of Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for all Canadians, noted in an interview: “We cannot continue to tell people how they need to change, we need to ask them,” she says. “And it’s tapping into employee engagement, tapping into that sense of fun.”
We are asking. When it comes to making health care better in Ontario, the difference is you.
Go make your pledge today.
Dr. Joshua Tepper is CEO of Health Quality Ontario. Gail Paech is CEO of AMS Healthcare (@AMSHealthcare)