Grateful. This word has been on my mind more over the last 12 months than it has in years past, even despite the pandemic.
The 2020-21 year has been a trying one for everyone, especially for those working on the front lines of the health care system. I am filled with a sense of gratitude and pride when I see the work my colleagues have done in an effort to keep the people of Saskatchewan safe and well. That same feeling is present when I see how the people of Saskatchewan have stepped up and maintained physical distancing, practiced handwashing, and followed public health measures and guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, our efforts have made a difference.
Supporting the SHA in COVID-19 response initiatives
In March of 2020, the Health Quality Council shifted its gears to support our colleagues in the Saskatchewan Health Authority as they responded to the pandemic. Accumulating to approximately 3,000 hours of support, staff offered their skills to the SHA in the areas of quality improvement (QI), project management, research, communications, administration, facilitation, and training. The Health Quality Council’s assistance provided teams with the much-needed support to respond as swiftly as possible to COVID-19.
Progress on strategic priorities
Our HQC team also continued its important work in supporting health and health care in Saskatchewan and its strategic work focusing on First Nations and Métis health and wellness and child and youth mental health and addictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more prevalent the degree of risk the most vulnerable face daily, let alone when a crisis strikes. The Health Quality Council team continues to forge a strong path in building relationships and partnerships to find ways to improve quality in the health system in Saskatchewan, addressing the alarming trends related to mental health and substance use disorders and the significant health disparities between Indigenous Peoples and the non-Indigenous population.
Continuing to advance improvement efforts across the health system
We also continued our work to advance continuous improvement efforts across the health system with the Clinical Quality Improvement Program (CQIP), the Quality Improvement Learning Collaborative in Prince Albert, and the Community QI Collective. The organization also continued to support the advancement of health system priorities to improve team-based care in the community through the BestPractice Primary Care Panel Reports and patient-oriented research efforts, through our participation in the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research, and by supporting the Patient Reported Experience Measurement / Patient Reported Outcome Measurement team (PREMs and PROMs) and the Provincial Stroke Strategy team. HQC continued its role in evaluating and monitoring prescription drug usage, safety and effectiveness through the continued efforts of the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES). This team focused on the safety and effectiveness of drugs and medications for regulating blood glucose, blood pressure, hypertension, and antibiotics.
Thank you to the board
I would also like to share my gratitude for my fellow board members, who have been instrumental in helping guide the Health Quality Council on its journey over the past several years with sound strategic advice, thoughtful insights, and grounded foresight. This last year marked terms ending for Ross Baker, Daniel M. Fox, and Yvonne M. Shevchuk. It has been a pleasure serving with you on the board and I am grateful for the contributions you have brought during your tenure. Thank you for all you have done to help the Health Quality Council accelerate improvement in health and health care throughout Saskatchewan.
As we look ahead into whatever the “new normal” will become, I am not only confident in the Health Quality Council, but in our health system partners and the people of Saskatchewan. I know and have seen what we can achieve when we do it together. We have shown – and will continue to show – that whatever the future holds, we can face it together.
Dr. Susan Shaw
Chair, HQC Board of Directors