Thoughts from our Board Chair: Dr. Omesh Syal 

a smiling man sits with his arms crossed and resting in front of an open laptop.As we start our new fiscal year, the Health Data Coalition’s (HDC) Board Chair, Dr. Omesh Syal discussed  how he’s approaching his role and what he hopes for the organisation. While working in his Prince George practice, Omesh began contributing to the HDC Board in 2020. Since then, he’s taken on leadership roles and contributed to various quality improvement projects using HDC Discover. Here’s what he shared with us:

Taking on the role of Board Chair for the HDC is incredibly exciting. It’s been inspiring to witness how this organisation has grown under the guidance and experience of past leadership. The accessibility of clinical measures and the strategic priority to support our communities is essential as healthcare in our province rapidly changes. I’ve seen the board, under the previous leadership of Dr. Shirley Sze, adapt and evolve alongside industry challenges.   

This organisation is physician-led and patient centred, which is a great fit for me. While the opportunity to lead the organisation as the Board Chair is exciting, I’m nervous! Dr. Sze, is a seasoned and experienced physician with many local, community and provincial connections. I look forward to supporting HDC in the best way I can, nurturing those existing connections while also building new ones. My hope for this year is that this organisation thrives, building on the grassroots origins and vision of the longitudinal physicians who got us where we are today. It’s been a steep learning curve so far and I’m getting involved everywhere I can: learning the administrative side of the business, digging into our healthcare system, exploring digital health strategies and learning about the needs of physicians today. 

I bring to this new role, the benefit of being a regular HDC Discover user. My practice in Prince George operates daily using data driven care. I use insights from HDC Discover to help me analyse and monitor my panel, which may lead to adjusting prescription habits or ensuring we’re diagnosing and treating patients with a proactive approach. We do that by referencing HDC measures to determine if there is room for improved patient care and clinic operations. 

I’ve always used data as a QI tool. As a medical student, working in my first clinic, I assumed a data informed approach was the norm. I saw how efficient it was for physicians to review information to make decisions about their practice. I saw organisations using data at community and provincial levels to inform patient care choices. I had mentors using data to better their practice and I’ve continued to soak in the knowledge of health data leaders in our province. 

I am inspired by the amount of experience combined on HDC’s Board of Directors. The collective experience is a huge asset. Together we have vast understanding throughout different levels within the province on a variety of committees. It’s comforting and encouraging to know we’ll be making decisions together using collective experience, backgrounds, education and understanding of healthcare across BC. As I learn from their individual experience, our goals for HDC are the same. I thank each member of the board and HDC staff for being leaders and making my transition into this role so smooth. 

As HDC Board Chair, I want to make physician’s lives easier. I want to ensure that they feel supported, whether they’re a solo physician or part of a multidisciplinary practice. I aim to ensure physicians are empowered by the data available to them within their own practice. I want to give my colleagues something they can use to positively impact patient care. I know how effective HDC Discover can be, so I encourage any physicians interested in taking control of their time while improving their practice, to get involved. At HDC we’ll continue to advocate for our physicians to be empowered to implement quality improvement in their practice and across the province. HDC has the information readily available to support practice improvement and the care our patients are receiving.  

It’s our goal to increase HDC Discover’s physician and nurse practitioner users, which collectively will create a clearer picture of healthcare across the province. Not everyone in this province knows about HDC and I’d like physicians and other healthcare professionals to understand what we can do for them. Improving our engagement with my physician peers will ultimately improve the overall experience for everyone through the HDC Discover application. I’d like to see more voices from around the province, in smaller communities so we can learn and support healthcare on a provincial scale. We’re creating advocates, sharing the work of HDC and I’d like to see the number of data informed physicians grow. 

Healthcare is always a work in progress and over time, quality information will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively. Insights from HDC Discover give physicians time back while allowing us to focus on patient centred care. It’s free, it’s simple and the initial time investment can be small. As you become more aware of what’s possible, the data becomes higher quality which converts into valuable information, which then translates into effective proactive change. 

I’m excited to begin this journey as Board Chair as I’ve seen first hand how readily available HDC measures have informed and supported practice improvement. I’m excited to work towards change on a bigger level, supporting more individuals, improving patient care and moving healthcare in BC forward. I look forward to connecting with many of you and getting to better understand the needs of physicians in this province and where we want to focus our collective efforts.  

If you’re already registered with HDC Discover, log in! To learn more about HDC or connect with me, reach out to one of our Clinical Service Managers at I look forward to seeing where, together, we can take HDC.