Small Steps, Big Idea projects increasing collaboration across the health authority

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One of the Vancouver Physician Staff Association’s priorities is to encourage physicians to work across disciplines and with their allied health colleagues and health authority leaders. One way VPSA members can do this is through Small Steps, Big Idea project funding. The initiative provides $1,000 to $5,000 to selected applicants to develop concepts that meet VPSA criteria.

VPSA has been funding Small Steps, Big Idea projects since 2018. Funding covers members’ time and other meeting costs to engage and collaborate with physician colleagues, nursing, and allied health staff.

The following projects received funding in 2021:

  • Understanding Healthcare Provider and Patient Experiences with Emergency Department Suboxone
    This project builds on the momentum created by the VGH ED’s program to screen patients for opioid use disorder. Funding was used to engage emergency and addictions physicians, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, and patients using a quality improvement lens to understand which aspects of the program have been successful, and how to optimize processes to improve emergency patients’ and providers’ experiences of care. Phase 2 of this project was approved for funding in 2022. The current project includes a sustainment plan.
  • Ophthalmology COVID-19 Rapid Access Triage and Referral System
    The goal of this project was to develop a model for rapid access to eye care that crossed health authority boundaries through an online referral system available to all community physicians and optometrists.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Response: Documenting Lessons Learned from VCH Family and Community Practice
    This project’s propose was to use lessons learned from actions taken in response to the pandemic by undertaking a multi-method consultation process to document the experiences of VCH community practice physicians and psychiatrists. A web-based questionnaire followed by a series of virtual focus groups were used to better understand what operational changes improved and/or sustained efficiency, safety, physician wellness, and patient and provider experience.
  • Improving Sample Processing from the Operating Room
    The group is using its funding to meet with physicians, allied health workers, and operations team members to gain input into how to improve OR sample procedures. The goal is to limit processing errors and improve diagnostic yield.
  • Perioperative Women’s Networking Group
    This project provides events open to female surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists and anesthesia assistants who are colleagues in the JP OR environment for the purpose of career development, networking and support.
  • Improving Delivery of Care in the ED for Patients with Substance Use Disorders
    The physicians working on this project aim to improve patient access to consultation with an addiction medicine specialist, which has been shown to improve engagement in addiction medicine care.

The Small Steps, Big Idea initiative funds projects that:

  • Provide opportunities to build relationships and effective communication across the physician community between or with medical disciplines, sites (VGH, UBCH, GF Strong, Vancouver Community), health authority leadership, and/or allied health professionals?
  • Address at least one of VPSA’s priorities by promoting physician wellness, physician engagement, or improving patients’ and providers’ experience of care?

Proposals are reviewed as they are received, and funding is awarded on an ongoing basis. Decisions are made approximately six weeks following submission.

For more information, check out the Small Steps, Big Idea webpage or contact

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