Although BC PSLS was first implemented some time ago (beginning in 2008), it’s important to continually reflect on how far we’ve come – in fostering a culture of safety across BC’s healthcare system and broadening the reach and use of healthcare technology.
While BC PSLS is primarily recognized as a patient safety reporting and learning tool, it was also revolutionary in how it opened new doors for healthcare systems to “talk to each other,” a situation that technical experts had to work through when BC PSLS was first spreading to healthcare facilities across the province.
To learn about the impact of BC PSLS from a technical perspective, I was delighted to speak with Chris Fleeton, Manager Active Directory Support and Operations with Health Shared Services BC (HSSBC). As an Information Technology (IT) expert and member of the original implementation team at Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), Chris played a key role. His insight highlights how cutting-edge BC PSLS was at the time – and continues to be!
“Prior to BC PSLS, there hadn’t been any other driving factors that enabled multi-health authority collaboration on that scale before.”
Chris says, “BC PSLS required the type of connectivity and cooperation that wasn’t standard between Health Authorities. That meant we had to build new relationships with other health authority technical teams and work together to make it all work.”
With PHSA hosting the BC PSLS application, Chris says his team had to make adjustments to how things were normally done. Inter-health authority connections were extremely difficult, which made the spread of BC PSLS across the province a challenge.
“It took a great deal of creativity and a lot of patience to make BC PSLS function as it should. It was a system that required a new way of thinking. Other systems have eventually followed on, and we see this type of interaction moving faster and farther all the time in healthcare. But if BC PSLS didn’t exist today and we were just planning to spread it now, things would be much simpler and smoother because we know so much more.”
In addition, Chris says from a technical services point of view, working with multiple health authorities can still be challenging because every technical team has their own way of doing things and their own priorities for the population they serve. “Of course that’s important and we understand, but that level of coordination does present glitches once in a while,” he says. “But much more thought goes into healthcare systems today, so they can work on a provincial scale, and that’s a good thing.”
Indeed, healthcare is different today. Patients and care providers have far greater demands of important health information and the technology it’s stored on, regardless of physical boundaries. The majority of healthcare systems in BC are now being designed to eliminate geographical boundaries, ultimately providing better and safer care to the people we serve.
This brings us to the BC PSLS application itself, which has also evolved tremendously, particularly over the past year couple of years. Check out the new Landing Page for example, which we launched earlier this year. These recent changes have made BC PSLS more user-friendly for healthcare providers, and given the system a more modern and updated look.
We give thanks to the expertise of Chris and the original PHSA implementation team for helping us launch BC PSLS to the province, to our Central Office technical support team for ensuring the system continues to evolve and to everyone in the IT world for their knowledge and expertise.
We’re now closer than ever to making healthcare systems work across the province, giving the citizens of BC a safer, higher-quality and more responsive healthcare experience.