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Being a patient partner at Northern Health: John Grogan’s story

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Elderly man with glasses and a large moustache stands in field with mountains in the background
John Grogan is a patient partner with the Patient Voices Network. Photo by Kathy Gates-Grogan

Patient partners provide their unique perspective to health organizations and play a crucial role in today’s health care.

We’ve all had experience interacting with the health care system. Patient partners take those experiences and provide suggestions to help improve the care that people receive.

Patient Voices Network ensures the voices of patients are heard

In the North and throughout the province, patient partners are recruited through the Patient Voices Network (PVN). The PVN links partners with a variety of opportunities to work with health agencies and offer the patient perspective. 

John Grogan of Valemount has been a Northern Health patient partner through the PVN since 2014.

“A friend invited me to an orientation meeting and I’ve never looked back,” says John. “I was looking for meaningful volunteer opportunities, and I found it.”

The network posted an opportunity to participate in Northern Health’s Telehealth Strategic Planning Workshop in 2016, which took place over a weekend in Prince George. Telehealth is a service that connects patients with specialists and other medical professionals virtually (e.g., using phone or video), reducing the need for travel. It’s an especially important service for the vast geographic region of Northern BC.

Patient input is valuable and brings thinkers together

John immediately jumped on the opportunity to help. He attended the workshop and a number of presentations addressing all aspects of the potential future of telehealth in the North. They explored how the use of this service impacts not only the health authority, but also the patients themselves.

He enjoyed taking part in the breakout groups, directing questions to presenters and discussing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to using these technologies. John also found ample time to engage face-to-face with some great thinkers.

“I enjoyed it so much, that after arriving home I spent a few hours drafting a post-mortem reflection for the conference organizers,” says John. 

Today, telehealth is playing an essential role in the continued health and safety of health providers and patients alike, reducing disease transmission associated with waiting rooms and travel.

Preparing for a virtual future

Northern Health, the Specialist Services Committee, Physician Quality Improvement, and the Patient Voices Network have also partnered to offer a workshop for volunteers in ZOOM videoconferencing in anticipation of virtual patient/practitioner visits. John hopes they can expand beyond just PVN volunteers and create a mentorship program to help community members become more familiar with the technology.

In addition, John has had the opportunity to be a part of the following projects:

Learn more about how you can become a patient partner today!