The Rural Health Learning Collaborative supports structures that build social accountability into health system improvement through the development of relationships between partner groups within the system.
“The Rural Coordination Centre of BC is a world leader in research and development aimed at improving rural health care. Community engagement methods, improved access to care through real-time virtual support, and system changes that focus on equitable access in marginalized areas and communities are examples of RCCbc rural innovations of interest to the organizations that are part of the national rural road map initiative with potential for scale and spread to rural areas across Canada.”
Enhanced the voice of marginalized perspectives within health care
In 2022-23, the Rural Health Learning Collaborative continued to support the work of collective perspective groups for rural citizens, rural providers, and linked sectors. These groups, each convened by a partnership between a rural and a provincial organization, provide a venue for discussion of key and emergent issues among peers. The conversations at these groups inform healthcare system transformation work being done at partnership tables and committees in a safe and creative space that generates ideas on existing priorities, as well as surfacing new priority areas for work.
RCCbc partnered with UBC Health to host a health summit titled “Breathe and Weave: Talking across silos to enable health system improvements” where members from the perspective groups participated in the intersectoral dialogue about health and healthcare in British Columbia and shared back with their respective groups. This provincial health summit was modelled on both the Partnership Pentagram Plus and an innovative approach to the Appreciative Inquiry model of deliberate dialogue championed and designed by RCCbc.
Supported rural research capacity
In 2022-23, the RCCbc Scientific Directors continued to engage with research partners through the health care system to support the rural lens and build rural research capacity. Dr. Taylor and Dr. Oelke bring their expertise to projects, advisory groups, and partnership tables, acting as a sounding board to provide a robust research and evaluation footing underlying these initiatives. They also worked with individual physicians and researchers to develop and support rural research on specific topics of interest.
The Scientific Directors have contributed to the academic rural research landscape in British Columbia through their roles as Principal Investigators and co-investigators as well as engaging RCCbc as a knowledge user. Dr. Taylor has supported evaluation research around Virtual Care and has been involved in the data collection for RCCbc’s IN-PoCUS Point-of-Care Ultrasound initiative and the Rural Echocardiography Project. Dr. Oelke has led research into Rural Emergency Transport through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded BC Emergency Health Services’ Rural Emergency Health Services Innovation project and an internally funded Emergency Transport Narratives qualitative study.
Plans for the Future
In the coming year, the Collaborative will be broadening its voice to include an Academic Perspectives Group that can serve a similar function to the existing groups, with a particular focus bringing the learner and educator as well as researcher perspectives to our work. At the same time, the effects of the work itself are bi-directional and will also provide feedback to academia directly.
In addition, efforts will be focused on rejuvenating the Providers Group which has had challenges in establishing membership and to holding meetings due to the ongoing issues of shortages of healthcare providers and pressures.