Home > About us > News > Saskatchewan Change Day encourages health care improvements
September 22, 2015

Saskatchewan Change Day encourages health care improvements

 Dr. Mark Wahba is an emergency physician in Saskatoon Health Region

Dr. Mark Wahba is making a small change that could have a big impact on his patients.

Wahba, an emergency physician who works in Saskatoon Health Region, made the following pledge for the second annual Saskatchewan Change Day campaign: “When I would like a patient to follow up with their family doctor after their ER visit, I’m going to call their doctor’s office and make the appointment for them.”

By doing that, Wahba hopes to shorten the amount of time a patient has to wait for an appointment with his or her family physician.

“After some Emergency Department visits, it is beneficial for people to follow up and be reassessed within a short timeframe,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I sometimes hear patients say, ‘It takes weeks to get in to see my family doctor.’ I wondered, ‘If I call and speak to their family physician or the receptionist, could we find a way to get them seen sooner?’

“Family physicians and primary care teams are the best providers when it comes to continuity of care. We sometimes see people return to the Emergency Department for problems that their family physicians would want to see, and probably should see. If I can help coordinate better follow up and continuity for the patient and their family physician, hopefully the patient will have a better outcome.”

Saskatchewan Change Day, a province-wide campaign organized by the Health Quality Council (HQC), is part of an exciting global movement aimed at making small health care improvements. The Change Day concept originated in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom and has since spread to countries around the world, including Sweden, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, India, Jordan, the Netherlands, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the provinces of Saskatchewan and B.C. in Canada.

HQC organized Canada’s first Change Day in 2014. This year’s Saskatchewan Change Day theme is “Make Health Better Together.” Participants can pledge to do something to improve their own health, the health of their workplace, or the health of the patients, residents, or clients they serve.

Anyone who provides health care, receives health care, or who cares about health care can pledge to make a difference. A pledge is an idea for improvement that is meaningful to the pledger. People are asked to enter their pledges on the Saskatchewan Change Day website, www.skchangeday.com, by Change Day on November 5, 2015. HQC has set the goal of receiving 2,015 pledges from across the province by Change Day 2015, more than doubling the 2014 campaign goal of receiving 1,000 pledges.

The idea behind Change Day is that every individual has the power to make a change for the better – a concept Wahba supports.

“I think all health care providers can look at what they are doing and find small ways to improve. We are all in this together, so we all need to look at what we can do differently,” said Wahba, who also works part-time at HQC as a physician consultant.

Dr. Susan Shaw, who practices critical care and anesthesiology in Saskatoon Health Region and who serves as HQC’s board chair, has also decided to make a positive change: She will sit down and be at eye level when talking with all of her patients and their family members.

It may seem like a small action, but she’s hoping it will make a big difference for her patients and their families.

“This is a small but significant change in how most doctors talk with their patient in a hospital. It helps create a better sense of people being equal partners and participants within the conversation,” Shaw said.

“I really hope my patients will feel more at ease when speaking with me and know that I actually do want to hear from them. But I also hope that I will model a best practice to my colleagues and medical students, and then others will build this best practice into their work.”

Many other people throughout the province are also being inspired by Saskatchewan Change Day. For example, Dan Florizone, Saskatoon Health Region’s President and CEO, has pledged “to seek, listen to and understand the individual experiences of 365 patients and their families in 2015.”

As a result of that pledge, Florizone has created an online journal – entitled Dan’s Pledge Journal – that describes his conversations with patients and families. To read the online journal, visit danspledge.wordpress.com.

Gary Teare, HQC’s CEO, is encouraging Saskatchewan residents to make a Change Day pledge.

“For the first Saskatchewan Change Day in 2014, nearly 1,400 pledges were made. It was exciting to see such enthusiasm for positive change. We want to build on that energy this year,” said Teare.

“Change Day complements HQC’s mission of accelerating improvement in health care and making care better and safer for the people of Saskatchewan. We hope people across the province will join us in supporting Saskatchewan Change Day 2015. Let’s show the world what we can achieve together.”

To find out more about Saskatchewan Change Day, or to make a pledge, visit www.skchangeday.com. Saskatchewan Change Day can also be followed on Twitter (@SKChangeDay). Check out the hashtag #SkChangeDay.