Collaborating for patient safety

Between February and August 2011, Dr. Doug Cochrane, chair of the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, undertook a two-phased investigation into the quality of diagnostic imaging after a series of events called into question the accuracy of diagnostic imaging reports in four health authorities.

The Phase 2 Report, released on September 27, 2011, contained

  • a detailed description of each of the four adverse events, root cause analysis, observations about what was done well and what could have been done better, and
  • 35 specific recommendations that include quality assurance (QA), peer review and ongoing physician performance assessment.

The recommendations focused on ensuring that physicians who want to practise in BC are screened appropriately, that their skills are assessed on an ongoing basis, and that there are clear lines of accountability amongst all of the parties with a responsibility for ensuring patient safety.

Physician Quality Assurance Steering Committee

The Physician Quality Assurance Steering Committee (PQASC) was established to provide oversight for a suite of projects based on the Phase 2 Report recommendations that will improve existing safeguards for physician practice by developing and implementing consistent provincial processes and standards for licensing, credentialing, privileging and practice enhancement.   

The projects will provide:

  1. A consistent, province-wide approach for credentialing and privileging, including a shared provincial information system to support the credentialing and privileging processes, common forms and privileging standards described in specialty-specific dictionaries.
  2. A provincial, standardized Physician Practice Enhancement Framework.
  3. A Radiology Quality Improvement System for health authority radiologists, including peer review.
  4. A review of legislation pertaining to physician practice and oversight responsibilities.

The PQASC has representatives from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, the BC Medical Association, Chief Financial Officers Council and the Ministry of Health, as well as the vice presidents of medicine from each health authority. In addition, projects have steering committees, expert panels and working groups with representatives from the health authorities and professional associations to enable input, collaboration and information sharing.

A website with more information on each of the PQASC projects will be launched in late summer.

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