Improving Island Health email use for Physicians

Project Details

  • Departments/Divisions: Family Practice
  • Physician Leads: Dr. Ian Bekker, Family Physician
  • Budget: $6,208.00

About the Project

In Greater Victoria, where over 1000 physicians work between two different hospitals and myriad community clinics, having a secure way to communicate between members of the clinical team is crucial. All physicians who work at Island Health sites have an organizational email, providing an easy way to connect with members of the clinical team, as well as access to colleagues’ calendars, and regular updates from Island Health administration. However, some physicians prefer to use their personal email address instead, citing the volume of email messages that don’t relate to physicians, as well as a desire to access their email off-site.

Dr. Ian Bekker wanted to lower the barriers to physicians utilizing this secure email resource, by assisting physicians to filter out unwanted communications, and promote easier remote access. Working with Island Health colleagues in Information Management/Information Technology (IMIT), he used a South Island MSA grant to engage with members of the medical staff and learn more about the functionality they desired. He then worked to design and refine a website to help interested physicians set up the desired filters.

This kind of technological and behaviour change requires a champion to demystify it. Dr. Bekker has presented to five specialist groups over the past year, explaining the purpose of the filter and encouraging these groups to enrol. He has used the feedback received to continue iterating the website’s services, to ensure it functions as smoothly as possible.

Asked for his reflections on the project, Dr. Bekker responded “I hope physicians realize that using Island Health email, plus the features from my website, helps the health system work better, without making them work harder”.

If you are a physician and would like to change the filter settings on your Outlook email or sign up for island health email on your phone go to

A big thank you to Dr. Bekker for all the hard work behind the scenes to bring this initiative to life!

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