BCMA web site review—the numbers

After a web site is 3 to 4 years old, it is customary to look at how well it caters to its key users and what improvements can be made to its navigation, design, and content. The BCMA web site was last updated in spring 2003, so this year the Association is undertaking just such a review.

In June the BCMA carried out an online survey of its members to find out their thoughts on the current BCMA web site. Members wishing to provide their contact information were eligible to enter a prize draw. Anonymous surveys were also accepted. Congratulations to Dr Colin Leech-Porter of Vancouver who won a $200 gift card from Future Shop.

A total of 1381 members participated in the survey. This is a terrific number of responses and the BCMA thanks all physicians who participated. The questions and answers to the survey are summarized here.

Top three reasons members visit the BCMA web site

1. Benefits
2. News and updates
3. Club MD

Top four specific areas of the web site most used

1. Member benefits/Insurance
2. News—Newsflash and news releases
3. Club MD
4. Negotiations

Web site improvements members would like to see

1. None 34%
2. Log-in and password 14%
3. More links 6%

Web site additions members would like to see

1. Nothing 28%
2. More links 13%
3. More CME 6%

Top reasons to visit the web site

1. E-mail from BCMA (on any topic)
2. Club MD
3. Benefits-related item
4. E-News (monthly electronic newsletter)

Ease or difficultly of finding information on the web site

Very easy/somewhat easy 80%
Difficult/very difficult 20%

Member response on the current split between the public and member sides of the web site

Keep it the way it is 51%
Expand the member side of the site 48%

Areas of the web site that members want expanded (in order)

1. Conferences, medical functions, other social events
2. Club MD
3. Fee guide information
4. Member benefits

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the survey and provided this valuable feedback. The web site review committee will analyze the results of the survey to help us to continue to improve this online communication tool.

—Robert Hulyk, MHA, ABC, BCMA Communications


Book review

Listening in Medicine by Michael Livingston, MD. Victoria: Trafford Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1-4120-7169-0. Paperback, 236 pages. $24.95.

Dr Michael Livingston’s long and colorful career has been highlighted by his determination to record his commitment to his life’s work, the art of medicine. This is not to say he is any less a scientist than the next academically trained healer; quite the contrary. However, Michael has always been prepared to expound at length on and defend the ancient arts of medicine, usually by sitting down and writing a book.

In his most recent book, Listening in Medicine Dr Livingston makes an impassioned plea to the reader to follow the oft-repeated advice of his mentor, “listen to the patient, who is trying to tell you the diagnosis.” Dr Livingston uses vignettes from his own practice, as well as practical examples from medical history to make his point. Michael’s book is chock-a-block full of wisdom and provides us all with a warm look back at our own early days as practitioner of the ancient art when we took the time to take a good history—because we had the time.

The last third of the book is focused on Michael’s other professional focus, whiplash. He provides a scholarly review of this condition and it dovetails nicely with the first part.

This is a short and extremely enjoyable read for all of us who work trying to help people. More of our colleagues need to take up the pen and remind us why we do what we do and how we got to do it.

Thank you, Michael.



BCMA addresses wait times

In June, the BCMA released a policy paper entitled Waiting Too Long: Reducing and Better Managing Wait Times in BC. The report calls for governments to establish wait time benchmarks for all major medical procedures and as an interim measure where no benchmark exists to ensure that no one waits more than 6 months for care. Also included in the report is a call for a 25% increase in operating room capacity in BC within 2 years, followed by another 25% increase to be added by the end of the 2009–2010 government fiscal year. The association also recommends that routine hospital occupancy not exceed 85% to allow for patient flow fluctuations and the accommodation of patients coming into hospital through the emergency room. The report can be viewed online at www.bcma.org/public/bcma_Information/news/WaitTimes2006.htm.


BCMJ CME cruise in February

The BCMJ’s Editorial Board and staff are planning a BCMJ CME cruise in February 2007. The 1-week Caribbean cruise, “Family Practice Refresher” will meet MAIN-PRO and MAIN-CERT CME credits, with the bonus feature of several sessions of “Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Editorial Process”—a window into medical journalism covering issues such as medical writing, medical publishing, and being on an Editorial Board. The BCMJ Editorial Board will act as faculty for all sessions.

The cruise conference will take place on the Explorer of the Seas operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, which offers a complete line of fitness (in-line and ice skating, rock climbing, golf simulators, fitness centre, basketball), dining (numerous restaurants, lounges, and bars), and other attractions (spa, youth programs, casino).

The cruise departs from Miami on 11 February and has ports of call in Belize City (Belize), Costa Maya (Mexico), Cozumel (Mexico), and Georgetown (Grand Cayman), returning to Miami on 18 February. The BCMJ is partnering with Sea Courses Cruises, a local, physician-owned and run CME company. Sea Courses is now accepting reservations; contact them at 604 684-7337, 1 888 647-7327, cruises@seacourses.comwww.seacourses.com for information and reservations.


Thommasen appointed to Order of Canada

On 25 July, Governor General Michaëlle Jean announced 77 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Among the new appointments is Dr Harvey Thommasen, a BCMA member and regular contributor to the BC Medical Journal.

Dr Thommasen, a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, is a respected researcher, ecologist, and author. Throughout his medical career he has displayed a great dedication to rural practice in the province of British Columbia, a career path which originally stemmed from a desire to practise medicine where his contributions would make the maximum impact.

Now living in Prince George, Dr Thommasen first practised medicine in Bella Coola and served local residents there for a decade. His time in that community provided inspiration for many writing projects, including several books. Through the storytelling of a Bella Coola grizzly hunter and guide, Dr Thommasen wrote the book Grizzlies and White Guys, a collaborated effort that established his reputation as a non-fiction author. The book achieved recognition as one of the best three BC books published in 1993, which, in conjunction with his medical achievements, led to Dr Thommasen receiving the Order of British Columbia in May, 2000.

Dr Thommasen also received the BCMA Dr David M. Bachop Gold Medal in 2001 in recognition of his accomplishments. Most recently, in 2005, Dr Thommasen’s co-authored book Birds of the Raincoast: Habits and Habitat won the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award.

The Order of Canada is the highest civilian honor in the country. Dr Thommasen’s appointment as a Member of the Order recognizes his dedication to his community, service to the nation, and a lifetime of outstanding achievement.

The BC Medical Journal heartily congratulates Dr Thommasen on this honor.


Multiple myeloma support group

The Greater Vancouver Multiple Myeloma Support Group meets monthly at Vancouver General Hospital, Jimmy Pattison Pavilion, 2nd Floor, in the Round Room, next to the cafeteria.

This group was formed just over a year ago to provide support and information to patients who have been diagnosed with this condition, as well as to their families. The group offers a mentor program that connects a patient currently undergoing treatment with a former patient who has completed treatment.

For more information on the support group and on multiple myeloma, contact Ms Francesca Plaster at fmplaster@shaw.ca or visit www.myelomavancouver.ca. The week of 22 to 28 October 2006 is Myeloma Awareness Week.


Day confirmed president-elect

Congratulations to Dr Brian Day on his election as CMA president-elect. Dr Day was confirmed at the CMA’s General Council meeting in PEI 22 August 2006. Dr Day was challenged on the floor of the General Council, however, the delegates chose to uphold BC’s elected nominee for CMA president-elect. He will serve as president of the CMA August 2007–2008.


Members like new annual report format

In June, the BCMA conducted a survey of members on their response to the 2006 BCMA annual report. The survey was taken in order to gauge members’ opinions on the updated format of the report, its usefulness, and what information in the report was of particular interest.

Survey results indicate that 78% of respondents liked the new format and found it easy to read. Seventy percent felt the report was a good source for information on the BCMA’s activities; areas of particular interest were key priorities for the present and coming years (75%) and milestone events for the present year (70%). Also of interest were BCMA financial statements (70%); and information on BCMA governance (72%), committees (76%), and membership (70%).

Negative feedback focused primarily on report length and distribution mechanics. When asked if the report was too long, 19% of respondents agreed (though 57% felt is was just right). When asked what should be changed for next year, the largest category of response was “nothing” (21%), while 5% would like a shorter report, 5% felt it should be e-mailed only, and 4% wanted the reports of the committees, societies, and affiliated organizations to be included again. The most common reason for not reading the report was being too busy.

We are pleased that members are generally satisfied with the new report format and look forward to using this valuable input to improve next year’s report. Congratulations to Dr Jeanne Keegan-Henry of Burnaby, winner of the BCMA 2005 Annual Report Readership Survey draw for a BCMA prize package.

—Geraldine Vance, APR
Director, BCMA Communications


Body Worlds exhibit to arrive in Vancouver this fall

Science World will be displaying the Body Worlds collection of Gunther von Hagens from 15 September 2006 to 14 January 2007.

The exhibit is renowned for the specially preserved human bodies that are displayed in lifelike postures. Different kinds of specimens will allow visitors to appreciate the functional anatomy of the various organ systems, including fetal development.

Visitor numbers are expected to be very high. When the Ontario Science Centre hosted the exhibit, more than half a million visitors attended over 5 months. Educational materials for school groups and adults are being prepared and extensive community consultations are underway.

Understandably, an exhibit that presents human material in such a frank and vivid manner will attract both positive and negative interest, but such a valuable educational opportunity clearly deserves the support of the medical community. The exhibit will allow people to see the consequences of a number of modifiable behaviors such as smoking, obesity, and poor eating habits. The benefits of exercise will also be demonstrated. These are conditions that are not only important considerations for individuals but are also major public health concerns.

Physicians wishing more information can visit www.bodyworlds.com or www.scienceworld.bc.ca.

—Lloyd Oppel, MD
BCMA Council on Health Promotion


Member info update form

Have you returned your 2006 Information Update Form yet? Please take a moment to review your Information Update Form to ensure that we have your most current information on file. If you wish to complete this form online, simply access the form on our web site by following these steps:

1) Log on to www.bcma.org—have your BCMA ID and PIN numbers handy.

2) Select the Members Services menu.

3) Select Update Your Information. This will bring you to an online Information Update Form.

4) Enter your current information. Once this form is complete, click the Submit Information button.

If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact:

Ms Brenna Inthavixay, 604 638-2849
1 800 665-2262, ext. 2849

—Sandie Braid, CEBS
BCMA Benefits


Core-Plus Plan deadline 30 September

If you have been thinking about joining the new Core-Plus Plan under the BCMA Health Benefits Trust Fund, take note that the deadline to enroll for this year is 30 September 2006. A completed and signed Employer Agreement form and Enrollment forms must be received in the BCMA office by that date in order to have coverage for the remainder of 2006 and for 2007. If you miss this deadline, you will not be eligible to re-apply until the next enrollment window, 1 September to 31 October 2007, and coverage will not take effect until 1 January 2008.

The Core-Plus Plan has been designed to offer maximum flexibility and tax-effectiveness in the provision of medical and dental benefits for members. It is of particular benefit to incorporated physicians.

An Employer Agreement was included in the information packages sent out in early July to all eligible members under age 65. If you cannot locate your copy of the Employer Agreement, it can be found on our web site at www.bcma.org. If you did not receive a package and you wish to know more about the new Plan or the Standard Plan (formerly the Medical Office Benefit Plan), please contact:

• Mr Cory St. Jean, 604 638-2865 
1 800 665-2262, local 2865

• Darlene Laird, 604 638-2818
1 800 665-2262, local 2818

Members who are currently enrolled in the Standard Plan can elect to remain in that plan or switch to the Core-Plus Plan, up to age 70, as long as they continue to work at least 20 hours per week in the practice of medicine. Contact the BCMA for more details.

—Sandie Braid, CEBS
BCMA Benefits

Robert Hulyk, MHA, ABC,, James A. Wilson, MD, Geraldine Vance, APR,, Lloyd Oppel, MD, MHSc, FCFP(Em), Sandie Braid, CEBS. Pulsimeter. BCMJ, Vol. 48, No. 7, September, 2006, Page(s) 348-350 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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