Jane Burns — COPD Outreach Team & CST

This March on BLOOM we’re focusing on lung health. We sat down with Jane Burns to talk about her work with the COPD Outreach Team and her new role with the Clinical & Systems Transformation project.

What is your title?
Currently I am working with the CST project as an associate team lead, Orders and Results Team. Prior to this, I was the team lead for the COPD Outreach Team at St. Paul’s and Mount Saint Joseph Hospitals.

Tell me about your career at Providence Health Care. What was your first role here?
I am an orthopedic physiotherapist but I was asked to come and help out with a COPD research project in early 2000 by Pat Camp, SPH physiotherapist and clinician-scientist in the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation. A few hours a week led to a number of projects involving research in COPD as well as helping out with the new Pacific Lung Health Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital. I gradually started to work full time at Pacific Lung with the COPD patients.

Why did you choose to work at PHC?
I think in some ways, PHC chose me! However, I am grateful for all I have learned over the past 10 years while at PHC and for all the great people I have been able to learn from including physicians, researchers, allied health staff, students and clerks. It has been a nice change from working for 20 years in private practice to go back to a real team approach to health care.

Tell me about the COPD Outreach Team. How did this come to be?
Prior to the formation of the COPD Outreach program, we had attempted to reach out to the community through GP engagement, an outpatient COPD specialist clinic at the Downtown Community Health Centre and the formation of an outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program at Kerrisdale Community Centre with help from various pockets of funding. In 2012, an opportunity arose through a Ministry of Health-sponsored patient-focused funding model and we were able to truly offer a bridge from hospital to home for COPD patients. At this point, we were able to coordinate care across the continuum as well as develop better relationships with our community partners and family physicians. We were able to add two more COPD Outreach clinics run by one of our respirologists, Dr. Stephan van Eeden. We were also able to improve communication within the hospital and help with discharge planning for complex patients. We were also able to meet with other hospitals involved in this project (LGH, Richmond, VGH) and try to standardize some of our charting/outcome measures across the health organizations.

Funding for this project is ending this spring but we have been fortunate to partner with a Canada wide collaborative, the INSPIRED project and we are attempting to add a spiritual care/advanced directive component as well as build on our community outreach projects.

How is the Outreach Team changing conventional lung care practice?
Care for COPD patients is largely directed towards self management as it is a chronic progressive disease. However we, as the health care practitioners, often think we know what is best for our patient. Particularly with the unique populations that we serve at St. Paul’s Hospital, we need to find ways to involve the patient in their care and assess what is most important for them which is a shift in our collective thinking.

How did you transition to this new role with CST?
It has been a steep learning curve for all of us at CST but I am working with great people here on this project. I am still working peripherally with the COPD Outreach Team to ensure its sustainability.

How has your experience working with the COPD Outreach Team shaped your approach working with CST?
Working with the COPD Outreach team in the Downtown Eastside, we have to be able to think on our feet, be innovative, take initiatives and be good problem solvers. Many of these skills apply to the CST project as we work to try and design an electronic medical health record that will work for over 90 sites across 3 health organizations.

Do you have any advice for PHC staff who are looking to branch out into other avenues or areas of interest?
I have done a number of different jobs in my physiotherapy career including working in a variety of health care settings and in different countries, running a private practice, working in research and running projects. All of these things have added to my professional toolkit. I would strongly advise other PHC staff to try something different and learn new skills.

The COPD Outreach Team was honoured with the 2014 Foundress Mission Team Award at Providence Health Care’s Annual General Meeting. Click here to watch their video.