Safe care is all about you!

From a small grassroots movement pioneered by a couple hundred health care organizations with an interest in patient safety and quality to the marquee event on the patient safety calendar celebrated by thousands of people across the country, Canadian Patient Safety Week owes its legacy to the people who’ve continued to show their support year in and year out.

For the seventh consecutive year, Canadian Patient Safety Week (Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 2012) returns as thousands of healthcare providers, patients and family members in healthcare organizations across the country celebrate patient safety and quality improvement.

Once again, there’s an exciting campaign lined up for Canadian Patient Safety Week aimed at increasing open lines of communication among healthcare providers and their patients and family members and reminding people that “good healthcare starts with a question.” Everyone is encouraged to ask questions, listen to the answers, and talk about concerns and ways of improving safety and everyone who registers as a participant of Canadian Patient Safety Week will receive a package to help spread this important message.

But it’s not about posters or newsletters or even a catchy tagline, it’s about people.

After all these years, Canadian Patient Safety Week would not exist if not for the dedicated people in healthcare organizations who work to promote its message in their local communities and bring awareness to the importance of safe care.

Every year I’m inspired by the progress made in improving the safety of care for patients, clients and residents. It’s the fuel that drives the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and encourages us to continue our vision of safe healthcare for all Canadians.

In addition to the people who champion patient safety on the front lines, it’s about the health care experts who give freely of their time and energy to ensure the patient safety and quality improvement products that are available are of the highest quality. It’s about the policy makers and healthcare executives who foster an environment where patient safety is a top priority. It’s about the physicians who work in partnership with patients and family members to give the best care possible and it’s about the housekeepers who work to ensure patients are treated in clean environments.

People are also the reason for the success of Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. When the Virtual Forum debuted in 2011, its strength was the quality of the speakers that filled the program and this year is no different.

Where else can you hear healthcare executives such as Vickie Kaminski, Chris Power, Karima Velji and Marga Cugnet engage in a panel discussion on patient safety; or learn about some of the great work happening around falls prevention from Dr. Jenny Basran and Angela Muzyka; or learn first-hand about managing an outbreak of C. difficile from Brady Wood and Terry Flynn in Niagara, or Martha McLean and Dianne Calvert from Cape Breton?

We’ve also got a brand new line-up of heartfelt and emotional videos featuring patients and family members sharing their stories of harm in healthcare and their mission to ensure that harm never occurs again. The impact of these stories is undeniable and reinforces the importance of patient safety.

Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement broke new ground last year as we broadcast 20 hours of live content to more than 2,000 sites in Canada and 17 countries. In an era where fiscal restraints and travel restrictions can make it difficult to attend conferences in person, Canada’s Virtual Forum tears down those barriers as people from around the world are able to connect and learn together with little more than a computer and an Internet connection and without leaving the office.

Canadian Patient Safety Week is our chance to ASK. LISTEN. TALK. It’s our chance to recognize the hard work and effort you’ve made to ensure every patient experience is safe. It’s also my chance to THANK YOU and to extend my admiration for everything you do.

Regardless of your involvement, Canadian Patient Safety Week is your opportunity to gather alongside your colleagues across the continuum of care and celebrate the collective advances we’ve made in patient safety and get excited about the future.

Here’s to another successful Canadian Patient Safety Week!