I remember working on this question as a student in the Environmental Public Health program. Dr. Gerry Predy, whom many of you would know, was the communicable disease control instructor at the time, and I remember having many discussions in class about this very topic. Two decades later, and here I am working side by side with amazing professionals doing just that. I could never have imagined how challenging but rewarding this would be.
ECC, SCP, ZEOC – all new acronyms added to our collective glossary of terms and abbreviations.
Although not complete yet, our (AHS) COVID-19 response was something to be proud of to be sure but definitely not surprising. As an organization, we’ve been able to find a way to work together and be more effective in many different types of crises, such as the Fort McMurray wildfires or Calgary floods. It’s no surprise that we were able to pull together again as many of us jettisoned our regular “day jobs” to take on different roles in support of the pandemic response.
Of course, the pandemic impacted everyone.
Previous to this, I never thought much about the effect pandemic measures, although needed, would have on business owners, employees, and individuals. The mental health impacts of being quarantined or the frustration of not seeing your loved one at a long term care home or in a hospital can be overwhelming.
As I write this, the pandemic is not over.
Although we have done an amazing job in controlling the spread of the disease in the province, we need to be diligent and work to prevent a second wave of infections. So, we find ourselves in a bit of an awkward spot, trying to get back to our regular “day job” accountabilities while ensuring we work to prevent infections.
As we cautiously return to our “new normal,” it’s worthwhile reflecting on the last few months. There were many learnings, long days/nights, and renewed hope for the future.
There is much we can do to be successful at this next phase of our journey.
One thing I thought about quite a bit was the need to better communicate our work. Quality improvement work is happening all across the organization and at all levels, yet we don’t have a good way to regularly and effectively exchange information. I honestly believe that communication, and specifically sharing lessons learned, is crucial to building and maintaining a highly reliable, high performing health organization.
Our hope is that we can build a community around I-THOUGHTS--sharing quality and safety learnings. We’re calling it the I-THOUGHTS blog.
Don’t worry, it won’t be just me writing these blogs. We’d love to publish your thoughts, shared learnings, or suggestions on quality and safety improvement. If you’re interested in submitting a post, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time – stay safe and be kind to each other.
Senior Program Director
IHOT, PI, eSIM
About the Author
Michael is Senior Program Director for Improving Health Outcomes Together (IHOT), Process Improvement and eSIM, all within the Quality Health Improvement portfolio.