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January 18, 2018

More Saskatchewan physicians, clinicians receiving in-depth training in quality improvement

Twenty-two Saskatchewan physicians and pharmacists have recently begun learning how to improve the quality of care they deliver to patients as part of a new training program developed and hosted by the province’s Health Quality Council (HQC). 

The group of clinicians is the second to take part in the 10-month Clinical Quality Improvement Program (CQIP), which teaches physicians and other health providers how to build quality improvement into their daily practice, and to facilitate, coach, and teach quality improvement to others. As part of their learning, every clinician carries out an improvement project in their work setting.  The first learning workshop for Wave 2 participants takes place Friday, January 19th in Saskatoon.

Modelled on the internationally recognized mini-Advanced Training Program at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, CQIP combines classroom and online learning with individual coaching and a community of practice. The Saskatchewan CQIP program is funded through a partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA). 

Dr. Kevin Wasko, an emergency room physician in Swift Current and Physician Executive of Integrated Rural Health with the new Saskatchewan Health Authority, is a second wave participant in the learning program. He says one of the big benefits of CQIP is that the skills he’s learning can be applied from the bedside to the boardroom.  “I am excited to gain the necessary skills to lead quality improvement initiatives that will improve the care of my patients and the system more broadly,” says Dr. Wasko. “As an emergency physician, my colleagues and I provide line care and face issues of access to care and ensuring that care is appropriate. These concerns are no different at the macro level as we navigate a new health care system in a single health authority.” Dr. Wasko’s improvement project will focus on creating a more seniors-friendly emergency department in Swift Current. 

Dr. Erin Hamilton, a family physician in North Battleford, was part of Wave 1 and is now coaching Wave 2 participants. She says CQIP helped her see that no matter how well physicians work individually with patients, patients still may not receive the best possible care if the system doesn’t work well. “Clinicians are in a great position to see this and to affect change,” says Dr. Hamilton. “We learned that the things we do with patients every day – ask lots of questions and run a few tests to clarify the problem, come up with a plan to correct the problem and monitor how the treatment is working – these are essentially the same steps we can apply to bigger problems.”  Dr. Hamilton’s improvement project focused on increasing opportunities for HIV testing in the Battlefords. “We have great treatments for HIV now but the first step to getting treatment is getting tested and there are currently some barriers to that,” says Hamilton.

Saskatoon’s Dr. Rabia Shahid graduated from the first wave of CQIP and is now serving as a coach for Cohort 2. She says the learning program has given her the knowledge, tools, and skills to implement improvements. “Making a change in a complex system like health care can be difficult,” says Dr. Shahid. “Now, I know that it is possible.” For her improvement project, she developed a process to identify which patients actually need testing before hip and knee surgery, to reduce unnecessary tests.

Wave 2 participants 

  • Dr. Scott Willms, orthopaedic surgery resident, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Steven Bharadwaj, thoracic surgeon, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Mofolashade (Shadé) Onaolapo, Head of Dept. of Anesthesia, Yorkton
  • Dr. Randall Friesen, surgeon, Prince Albert
  • Dr. Pouneh Dokouhaki, pathologist, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Olivia Reis, family physician, Regina
  • Dr. Oladapo Mabadeje, surgeon, Prince Albert
  • Dr. Marilyn (Mary) Kinloch, pathologist, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Lexy Regush, obstetrics & gynaecology, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Kevin Wasko, emergency physician, Swift Current, and Physician Executive of Integrated Rural Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority
  • Dr. Kyle Moulton, radiologist, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Jeffrey Betcher, critical care physician, Regina
  • Dr. Hendrik du Plessis, surgeon, Battlefords
  • Dr. Francois Rossouw, emergency physician, Prince Albert
  • Dr. Eileen Dahl, family physician, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Christine Ryan, family physician, Shellbrook
  • Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Machnee, family physician, Yorkton
  • Dr. Ayisha Kurji, general pediatrician, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Chung-Chun (Anderson) Tyan, respirologist, Saskatoon
  • Dr. Gordon Craib, family physician, Battlefords
  • Andrew Plishka, pharmacist, Battlefords
  • Sarah Lynds, pharmacist, Battlefords

HQC received 38 applications for the second round of the learning program, double the number received for Wave 1. Participants are selected based on their prior experience with quality improvement, support from their home organization for their improvement project, and the extent to which that project aligns with health system priorities.

Wave 1 of the program ended last November, with 14 physicians successfully completing the training.

HQC accelerates improvement in health care by building improvement capability and spreading innovation across the province, through education, improvement initiatives, and research.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Girard Hengen
Communications Advisor (Saskatchewan Medical Association)
306-657-4596 (office)