Who better understands how well our health care system meets patient needs than the doctors who treat them? The JCC’s work starts with doctors who see opportunity for improvement and system change. We bring together doctors and administrators as a team whose goal is to find solutions and make them a reality. Where there’s experience there’s an idea, where there’s a team there’s a way.
Mark was a healthy and active 11-year old. He was outside playing with his twin brother near his family’s Vancouver Island home when he suddenly collapsed, his life cut short by sudden cardiac arrest. Only afterwards was he diagnosed with inherited arrhythmia, a genetic condition with manageable but often undetected symptoms, and with the potential for catastrophic consequences, if left untreated. In the wake of the tragedy, Mark’s entire family was referred to the BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP) for diagnosis. Three family members tested positive and are today receiving integrated BCIAP care and counselling from a specialized team.
It’s 2004 and Dr. Laura Arbour is on her way to the Northern Health authority, where high occurrences of inherited arrhythmia are the community’s greatest health care priority. Doctors have just acquired the technology to test genetic indicators of inherited arrhythmia on a molecular level, and Dr. Arbour is going north to research and diagnose the condition’s hereditary reach. What begins as a research program, however, evolves into a rapidly expanding system of care involving cardiologists, genetic counsellors and genetics specialists, where at-risk individuals are proactively diagnosed, educated and treated. It is the beginning of a new perspective on inherited arrhythmia treatment.
“As physicians we have the opportunity, through the SSC, to consider innovative programs. It made sense that the multidisciplinary care we were delivering in northern BC should be offered to the whole province.”— Dr. Laura Arbour, Co-Director, BCIAP
The BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program began in April 2013, with funding from the Specialist Services Committee and Cardiac Services BC. Now five BCIAP clinics are active across the province, with the capacity to diagnose entire families when one member suffers a suspect cardiac event. While proactive diagnoses and preventive treatment are central to BCIAP’s operations, the program’s approach is a model of medical innovation. Multiple disciplines collaborate with the common understanding that continued research and education of patients, as well as physicians, is as important as diagnoses and treatment.
Testing Imaging, Monitoring,
BCIAP has improved care of inherited arrhythmia patients immeasurably, and continued diagnoses of inherited arrhythmia in previously unidentified gene mutations are contributing to a very rapidly expanding body of knowledge. In fact, BCIAP’s success is its greatest challenge. As BCIAP referrals continue to grow, the program requires more resources and new tools. Common data collection and integration, increased use of digital resources, such as web teaching, videoconferencing care and patient portals will allow greater collaboration between teams across health authorities and greater access for patients and families. These are all challenges in the coming years, but they are the right sort of challenges - challenges born from progress.