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CPSI Share                                                  
11/3/2013 5:00 PM

​​​Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement 2013 wrapped up five days of live broadcasts with over 5,000 unique viewers from more than 1,200 locations participating across 12 countries, including Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, United Kingdom and the United States. There were also over a million impressions on Twitter of #asklistentalk during the Forum. The virtual format of the week-long Forum saved over 1,923 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The final day of the Forum was dedicated to patient engagement. Throughout Canada’s Virtual Forum each day has opened with a patient narrative. These poignant personal stories shared by family members are a true call to action to ASK – good healthcare starts with a question; LISTEN – good healthcare requires an open mind; and TALK – good healthcare requires a responsive heart. Here are highlights from today’s program:


The open sharing of information helps strengthen trust between patients and their healthcare team and improves the safety and experience of care. From the lens of a patient, Actor and Comedian Daniel Stolfi shared his two-year experience with battling non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma providing a snapshot from his presentation, Cancer Can’t Dance Like This.  “Fighting cancer has been the hardest thing I have had to do in my life,” says Daniel Stolfi. “Communication is crucial to building a relationship when you are dealing with your doctor.”


(Left to right) Kim Ruether, Marg MacDonald, Raeline McGrath and Daryl Bell

Members of Patients for Patient Safety Canada and Patient Advisory groups reinforced that listening to the patient is what makes patient and family engagement meaningful.

After her 16-year old son died suddenly of cardiac arrest at a school gym, Kim Ruether has made it her quest to make automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as widely available as fire extinguishers to prevent further needless tragedies. “Sudden cardiac arrests are not rare, surviving them is,” says Kim Ruether.  “ADEs are safe, simple and save lives.”

Marg MacDonald, Board Chair, Prairie Mountain Health reinforced the power of an apology in sharing stories of her brother and her husband who were misdiagnosed and subsequently died.  “When my brother’s doctor said I am sorry; we have harmed you more than we have helped you, that was so meaningful,” says Marg MacDonald. “There is value in learning from mistakes. Stories simply told without bitterness are helping to advance patient safety.”

Raeline McGrath, a member of Patients for Patient Safety Canada, shares her journey for answers after her daughter Claire died in a pediatric intensive care unit. A medical review determined Claire’s death was deemed to have been preventable. “Great care is not perfect care,” says Raeline McGrath. “Good clinicians make mistakes and when it happens patients and families need to be engaged, informed, listened to, feel safe to ask questions and receive meaningful answers.”

Daryl Bell partners with some 60 patient experience advisors as Lead of the Patient Advisory Committee at Kingston General Hospital.  “Healthcare providers make decisions that impact the patient experience without taking into account the patient perspective,” says Daryl Bell. “I can’t help to think how much healthcare providers can learn by listening to patients and families.”


Navigating a complex healthcare system can be daunting. Tips from professional communicators were provided from Judith Dyck and Sue Robins, while sharing personal experiences as advocates in the healthcare system. 

“It is important that organizations move from a reactionary approach to sharing good news stories,” says Judith Dyck. “By creating a positive, open environment between providers and patients and families will inspire all to do better.”

“Disclosing a diagnosis or prognosis is important information and sometimes we receive everything and sometimes we remember nothing,” says Sue Robins.  “We need to move from provider to person, to person to person communication.” 


The Forum concluded with a French only session where André Néron, Directeur-Associe du Bureau Facultaire de L’expertise Patient Parteneaire et Président du Comité de Patients Experts de la Faculté de Médecine de L’Université de Montréal reinforced the value of the patient as a partner. 


(Left to right) Cecilia Bloxom, Hugh MacLeod and Kaaren Neufeld

Throughout the week videos entered into the ASK.LISTEN.TALK video competition have been shown during Canada’s Forum and viewed almost 5,000 times on YouTube. Congratulations to the British Columbia Cancer Agency and Hospital Montfort!  The Hospital Montfort video was voted the best entry by the panel of judges and the BC Cancer received the most views votes on YouTube, with 1,546 views. Both organizations receive a $500 credit from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute online store. Click here to learn more about and to watch all of the videos submitted for the video competition.

Hugh MacLeod closed the Forum asking all viewers to continue the conversation.  In a recap of the 20 hours of presentations, he heard a clarity of purpose of what patient safety is about; an alignment of effort between systems, providers, patients and families; and the importance of accountability for performance.  That is what speaks to the words, ASK.LISTEN.TALK. “It is extremely gratifying to host the Forum,” says Hugh MacLeod.  “The quality of the presentations, the quality of the discussions and the quality of the conversations continue to grow.” 

Click here to watch all of the sessions from Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement.  Great ideas are meant to be shared. The sessions are yours to view and rebroadcast.