BC PAD Program – Iridia to supply British Columbia with 650 AEDs

BC PAD Program

Michael, Julie, Vern, Allan and Tom at the PAD Program Launch presentation

In 1997, a British Columbia mill suffered a heart-wrenching loss when one of its staff members collapsed and died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).    The only remedy for an SCA is the delivery of an electric shock that acts to reset the heart’s electrical rhythms – a shock deliverable by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).   Unfortunately, that shock must come quickly.   For every minute that passes without shock delivery, a person’s chance of survival is reduced by 10%.   In 1997, only ambulance attendants and fire rescue personnel had access to AEDs, and on that day, neither could get to the mill in time with the life-saving AED.

This event, while tragic, led to the formation of Iridia Medical, a BC-based company passionate about broader access to AEDs.  Founded by Dr. Allan Holmes, an emergency-trained physician, Iridia has worked in the intervening years to implement comprehensive AED programs for hundreds of workplaces across the province and throughout Canada.

And then came February 6th, 2013, a particularly special day in our company’s history.

Gathered alongside representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon (HSFBCY), and the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS), our team helped bring forward the announcement that a province-wide Public Access Defibrillation Program initiative was launching.

Kicked off with a highly effective Public Service Announcement and an awareness campaign, the BC PAD Program initiative, funded by the HSFBCY and the Ministry of Health, will see 650 AED units and associated training delivered to communities throughout BC.   The expected impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, will be to “save hundreds of lives”.   Indeed, with increased access to AEDS, each of the 2000 SCA deaths reported annually in BC has the potential to be avoided.   This was exactly the case for Anna Shanh, an SCA survivor, who shared her survival story with those at the launch.  It was a stark reminder for us all that SCA doesn’t discriminate; even the young, fit, non-smoking and non-drinking among us are at risk.

In participating in the launch and seeing the efforts invested to bring it to life, we could not be more proud to be the PAD initiative’s exclusive AED provider.   We look forward to working with communities throughout the province as well as with the exceptional teams at both the HSFBCY and BCAS.    We share CEO Diego Marchese’s view that this has the potential to be one of the best programs in Canada, and we look forward to playing our role in ensuring that it is.

For more information and video about the BC PAD Program, visit the BC Government newsroom: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/02/bc-increases-access-to-defibrillators.html

Introducing the New BC Services Card

We recently received the following correspondence issued by College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia on behalf of the Ministry of Health, outlining a program that will affect all British Columbians.

The BC Services Card

On February 15, 2013, the provincial government will introduce the BC Services Card, which will be phased in over a five-year period. The new card replaces the current CareCard. The new card can be combined with a driver’s licence and also serves as government-issued identification. All BC Services Cards will have an expiry date, enhanced security features and most will have a photograph, which will help to improve patient safety and reduce card misuse.

The BC Services Card will be delivered as an integrated program of the Ministry of Citizens’ Services and Open Government, the Ministry of Health, and the Insurance Corporation of BC. In future, additional in-person and online government programs and services will be accessed through the BC Services Card.

The Ministry of Health is pleased to announce that the Medical Services Plan is the first program available through the new card. With this change, and beginning February 15, 2013, most adult BC residents will be required to renew their enrollment in the Medical Services Plan by 2018. Once enrollment has been successfully renewed, individuals will be issued a BC Services Card.

BC Services Card

New regulations will also come into effect for health care providers, including the duty to verify patients’ enrollment in Medical Services Plan and the duty to report Medical Services Plan misuse.

Visit: health.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoprac/index.html to access the following resources:

  • A BC Services Card ID fact sheet for health care providers with images of the card;
  • A set of questions and answers;
  • A multimedia eLearning tool for self-serve information on the BC Services Card program; and,
  • Technical readiness information for those who use, or plan to use, a card reading device to capture information from the magnetic stripe or 2D barcode on the CareCard and BC Services Card.

Starting in January 2013, a public communications campaign will be launched to inform BC residents about the BC Services Card and the changes to the Medical Services Plan. Kits with posters, brochures and other communications materials will be delivered to health providers and other locations in communities across the province.

In addition, the Ministry of Health and partners have been engaging with stakeholders to inform them about the upcoming launch of the BC Services Card. These important meetings and presentations will continue through the initial phase of the launch.

Update – BC Influenza Control Policy

Earlier in the year, health authorities throughout BC (on the advice of Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s Provincial Health Officer) agreed to ramp up efforts to protect patients and seniors from influenza exposure this flu season (read the full story). Now, after a much heated debate, the government has temporarily backed away from the controversial plan to force thousands of provincial health workers to get a flu shot before they can work with patients. 

Original Influenza Policy:

Effective December 1, 2012, all staff, physicians, students, volunteers, contractors and vendors must either be immunized against the flu or wear a procedure mask while in patient care areas.

BC Influenza Policy

Updated BC Influenza Policy (Dec 5th):

The Ministry of Health decided that during the first year of flu policy implementation the focus will not be on enforcement. Health authorities will not be disciplining employees, but will focus on education and awareness to promote compliance with the new policy.

Unimmunized staff must still wear masks in patient care areas, and immunized staff must display the flu shot sticker on ID badges during flu season.

From our Medical Director Dr. Allan Holmes:

“The following Influenza Control Policy for the Health Authorities remains in effect. The only change is that the enforcement within the Health Authorities will not be a focus in the first year. I remain support of the policy as it is designed to maximize protection for our patients.”

Learn more about influenza:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/flu-grippe-eng.php

Canadians Still Struggling to Find a Family Doctor

ministry of health - Family Doctor

The Plan for Family Doctor’s

In 2010 the BC Ministry of Health set out to provide every British Columbian who wants a family doctor with one by 2015.

Aside from extending access to family doctors; this plan aims to provide better care for patients with chronic diseases, seniors and those with complex health needs.

“Ensuring that British Columbians have access to their own family doctor – a health professional who is familiar with their medical history – can drastically improve health outcomes for patients and in doing so, can help ensure the sustainability of our health system. This shift will change the patient’s journey through the health system and streamline care so patients receive consistent and appropriate care through their family doctor over a lifetime” – Kevin Falcon, Health Services Minister.

Read the original 2010 news release.

Where Are We Now?

Fast-forward two years and it looks as though the BC Ministry of Health is still struggling to connect citizens to family doctors.

A recent Statistics Canada report shows little to no change in the accessibility of a regular family doctor since 2010. In fact, access to a family doctor is at the lowest point in almost a decade.

access to family doctor

With only three years left to achieve their goal, the Ministry of Health must continue to push integrated primary health systems throughout British Columbia.

Where’s The Change?

B.C.’s move to a more integrated primary and community health care system began in stages with some communities and regions across the province in 2010-11.

With this approach changes will happen slowly as the plan is fully rolled-out to communities around the province.

By March 2011, integration had begun in 40 communities and regions of the province and, by 2015, the program will be available in more than 160 B.C. communities, covering the entire province.

doctor patient - Family Doctor

Where Are We Going?

Shifting to primary health-care is part of the innovation and change agenda to improve patient care while managing growing health care costs and ensuring long-term sustainability.

At Iridia, we have seen this shift first hand and the Ministry of Health plan in action.

Our involvement at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre has shown us one such program, the Primary Care Clinic.

The Primary Care Clinic helps patients who are discharged from Surrey Memorial but don’t have a family doctor to get follow-up care.

So far, more than 3,300 patients have been connected with a primary care provider; a staggering number for a program/facility that opened its doors in 2011.

Bottom line – as the Ministry of Health plan expands, we can expect to see more individuals throughout the province connected with family doctors.

Healthy Lifestyles – BC Leads, Canada Follows

Iridia Medical is an advocate for healthy living. We believe positive choices can be made to enhance physical and mental health. As such, we encourage all of our employees to implement a healthy living plan that works to fit their unique lifestyles.

No surprise, (to me anyway) it looks like Iridia is not alone. According to a 2011 Stats Canada Community Health Survey, British Columbia families are leading the way in healthy living.

The Community Health report card ranks BC at or near the top on most indicators measured.

Healthy Lifestyle Highlights:

  • British Columbian adults have the lowest rates of self-reported obesity or overweight in the country, at 46.6 per cent. 
  • Physical activity rates for those 12 and older are the highest among the provinces, at 59.6 per cent.
  • Smoking rates are the lowest in the country, at 15.8 per cent.
  • British Columbian families rank third among all Canadian jurisdictions in fruit and vegetable consumption, with 40.7 per cent of those 12 and older consuming fruit or vegetables five or more times per day. 
  • British Columbia continues to increase its ranking of self-perceived health for those over 12 years of age, moving from fourth to second in the country (along with Newfoundland and Labrador) with 60.9 per cent of respondents reporting very good to excellent overall health.
Fruit - Healthy Lifestyles

Minister of Health Michael de Jong

“Once again, British Columbians have shown that they are among the healthiest in the country – something each of us can be proud of. However, prevention is the best medicine, and if we want to continue to reduce the burden of chronic disease and illness on our health system and our lives, we are going to need to keep striving for improvement.”

“Through initiatives like Healthy Families BC, our comprehensive smoking cessation program and our formal partnership with ParticipACTION to promote physical activity, we are committed to helping British Columbians get and stay healthy.”

Healthy Lifestyles – Quick Facts:

  • B.C. is the first province in Canada to partner with ParticipACTION 
  • Evidence shows that individuals, who are physically active, achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, enjoy a healthy diet and refrain from smoking, can reduce their risk factors for most chronic diseases by up to 80 per cent. 
  • Obesity rates in children have almost tripled in the last 25 years. 
  • In British Columbia, 51,000 children (seven per cent) aged 2-17 years were classified as obese About 2,000 British Columbians die prematurely every year due to obesity-related illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
    • 138,500 (20 per cent) as overweight.

Healthy Living Activities at Iridia

Kayaking - Healthy Lifestyles

Michael ready to take on the Capilano River as part of the Red Bull Divide and Conquer race.

To embrace healthy lifestyle choices, staff at Iridia participate in a variety of healthy activities. One such activity was our 90-day fitness challenge led by Innovative Fitness. Read more on the challenge here: IF Challenge.

Members of our staff also recently participated in the Walk to Fight Arthritis.

Many of our staff are also are avid bikers and brave temperamental Vancouver weather on two wheels. But it’s not just biking. You may even see Iridia staff members kayaking down rivers, surfing the ocean, playing squash, skiing, snowboarding, running, rock climbing, …the list could go on, but you get the idea.

With the help of Iridia, each of us in our own way has embraced a work/life balance that allows us to shine in all that we do.

For resources to support healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and healthy communities, visit: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca

Heart and Stroke 2011 Annual Report

Year after year the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with support from 130,000 Canadians around the country, is able to invest in ground-breaking research, prevention efforts and advocates healthy change across Canada.

heart and stroke

In British Columbia alone:

  • 24 Foundation funded researchers are investigating new treatments against heart disease and stroke
  • 33 new research projects have been funded
  • A BC Stroke Strategy has been developed
  • A provincial awareness campaign for improved recognition of stroke has been launched

In the 59 years of the Foundation’s existence, the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease has decreased by 25%. And yet, still, close to 250,000 potential years of life are lost every year heart disease. Heart disease and stroke still take 1 in 3 Canadians before their time.

A 25% decrease is very impressive, but there is always more we can do as early onset of heart disease and stroke is 80% preventable.

Even one campaign can leave a lasting impression. For example, in 2011 The Heart Truth campaign helped make Canadian women aware of their leading cause of death; heart disease and stroke. Awareness grew by 12 percentage points among women 35 and older.

Stroke Strategy

After working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation on various stroke related projects, we at Iridia understand their importance. Research funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation can lead to various projects that that aim to deliver better health care to Canadians. 

Mentioned above, the new British Columbia Stroke Strategy is a key initiative to hit a major milestone in 2011. For the past few years, Iridia has been working with the Heart and Stroke foundation on the development of BC’s Stroke Strategy.

BC stroke strategy - Heart and Stroke

The care stroke survivors received within forty-eight hours after their stroke has a tremendous impact on the length and quality of their recovery. The immediate recognition and treatment of stroke is imperative.

For the first time, a province-wide strategy is in place to improve the prevention and treatment of stroke in BC’s health care system.

According to Pam Aikman, Provincial Director of Stroke Services BC at the Provincial Health Services Authority, “This is a milestone year for stroke care in BC. Thanks to the tireless work by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, we have been able to launch Stroke Services BC, and have a solid plan for implementing ongoing improvements to stroke care here in BC.”

Iridia is proud to have worked with the Heart and Stroke Foundation in the development of the BC Stroke Strategy. We will stand alongside the Foundation in the step-by-step fight against heart disease and stroke.

Learn more about the stoke care strategy: signsofstroke

View the annual report: H&S2011

Visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation: HeartandStroke