What you need to know about the Patient Safety Institute

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Patient safety doesn’t always get the kind of attention it deserves.

The public is more often concerned with wait times and access to care than they are quality and safety but it’s hard to fault them for this.

After all, there is an expectation that our healthcare system is a safe place to be.

Every now and then a major patient safety incident will make the front-page of the local paper or will be the lead story on your evening newscasts but before long, people’s attention has shifted to something else.

However, just because we aren’t always conscious of patient safety and the potential for harm, doesn’t mean it goes away. Healthcare providers don’t go to work in the morning to make mistakes, yet there are thousands of harmful incidents that occur every year across the continuum.

With that said, I’d like to introduce you to the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. Established in 2003 by Health Canada, we are a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve transformation in patient safety.

We are a small organization with big aspirations. We believe that every patient experience should be safe and that preventing harm is worth the effort. We’re working behind the scenes with healthcare providers and organizations across the country to develop evidenced-based tools and resources to improve the quality of healthcare in Canada.

For the heroes on the front-line, we offer programs such as Safer Healthcare Now!, a collection of 11 interventions aimed at improve care at the bedside. From medication reconciliation and surgical site infections, to preventing venous thromboembolism and reducing injury from falls, we’ve got everything you need free of charge to implement these life-saving interventions.

You can also find us in the class room where we’re working to educate not only the healthcare providers of today, but medical students and the doctors and nurses of tomorrow through the Patient Safety Education Program (PSEP – Canada), the Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course, and the Advancing Safety for Patients In Residency Education (ASPIRE) program.  We also offer the Effective Governance for Quality and Patient Safety course, designed to support the boards of healthcare organizations in their efforts to improve safety and quality through effective governance.

While preventing an incident from happening is one half of the equation, what happens afterwards is just as important. It is imperative that we disclose when harm has occurred without fear of blame. It is equally important to report incidents in order to learn from them and share those findings with others so that they never happen again. To support these efforts, we offer tools such as the Canadian Disclosure Guidelines, the Canadian Incident Analysis Framework and Global Patient Safety Alerts.

Every year, we take one week to shine a spotlight on patient safety. Canadian Patient Safety Week has become the marquee event on our calendar every year. It’s our chance to reflect on the progress we’ve achieved and ready ourselves for the uphill climb ahead. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous efforts and accomplishments that every one of our partners and stakeholders has made.

In conjunction with Canadian Patient Safety Week, we are also proud to present Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality. Where fiscal restraint and travel bans have made attending in-person events next to impossible, we’ve gone virtual and are excited to bring 40 hours of live content to you over the Internet delivered by more than 40 patient safety experts. Both of these exciting events are taking place from October 28 to November 1, 2013 and registrations are open. Visit www.asklistentalk.ca to sign up today!

Despite all of our efforts, we can never forget that the patients and their families are always at the core of everything we do. Their stories of harm and suffering humble us everyday and remind us of what’s at stake. At CPSI, we are honoured to work with a group called Patients for Patient Safety Canada whose mission is to ensure that healthcare organizations and systems include the perspective of patients and their families when making decisions and planning safety and quality improvement initiatives. Their courage to work with us to improve a system that has failed them in their time of need is inspirational and is a great motivator for everyone at CPSI.

As you can see, we have a lot to offer, and there is much more to discover on our website. I encourage you to visit us at www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca to learn more about what we do and how we can help you improve safety and quality for your patients, residents and clients.