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Canadian Patient Safety Institute

Safe care....accepting no less​

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) has over 10-years of experience in safety leadership and implementing programs to enhance safety in every part of the healthcare continuum.​

SHIFT to Safety


Improving patient care safety and quality in Canada requires everyone’s involvement—SHIFT to Safety gives you the tools and resources you need to keep patients safe, whether you are a member of the public, a provider, or a leader.


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 CPSI Latest News



Patient Safety Power Plays: Are we still talking about clean hands?8954Patient Safety Power Plays I've been involved in healthcare for a long time, from many different vantage points, and I like to think I've seen it all and that nothing could phase me – even though I know that is not the case. However, when STOP! Clean Your Hands Day rolls around every May 5, I'm confronted by something that I just can't believe we haven't solved yet clean hands! On the one hand, it's troublesome that something that is so simple to do, and that can save and protect so many people is still a major problem. On the other, I know that change can be slow and that even though it's taking longer than I'd like, I believe we are heading in the right direction. Let's look at a pair of other public health issues for some context Smoking. It's taken a couple of generations, but we've gone from smoking in schools and on airplanes, to prohibiting smoking in most pubic spaces. Per Stats Canada, fewer people are heavy smokers today compared to a decade ago, and smoking rates among teens has fallen more rapidly than any other age group. Anecdotally, I see fewer smokers on the street than I did even five years ago and it's a very positive sign. Seatbelts. Most people have a story from their childhood where the entire family crammed into Grandpa Joe's station wagon, with not nearly enough seatbelts (if there were any) to go around. Today, we know that's unacceptable and that even a quick trip around the block requires you to buckle up. Transport Canada reports that seat belt use has increased in the past two decades and that 95 per cent of Canadians are using their seat belts in a vehicle. As seat belt use is rising, fatalities are declining. STOP! Clean Your Hands Day is our attempt to highlight the dangers in not cleaning your hands, not only in healthcare, but in our communities, as well. It's our opportunity to declare that it is unacceptable and that we must change the current rates of hand hygiene dramatically. With that, let's all take a moment to clean our hands, and encourage our friends and family to do the same. Yours in patient safety, Chris Power​5/8/2017 6:00:00 AMI've been involved in healthcare for a long time, from many different vantage points, and I like to think I've seen it all and that nothing could5/8/2017 4:40:48 PM
Partnerships help pave the road in developing an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery strategy9179Patient Safety News This article is the first in a series on Enhanced Recovery After Surgery. As the national strategy evolves, information for the public, providers and leaders will be posted to Click on the link to learn more and watch for upcoming articles! Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) consists of a number of evidence -based principles that support better outcomes for surgical patients including an improved patient experience, reduced length of stay, decreased complication rates and fewer hospital readmissions. "We want to take the ERAS learnings and evidence that has been acquired internationally and within Canada, and develop a strategy that can be moved across the country," says Carla Williams Patient Safety Improvement Lead, Canadian Patient Safety Institute. To start the ball rolling, a face-to-face meeting with key stakeholders was made possible through the generous support from 3M and Medatronics. "3M organizes its perioperative business around surgical best practices and has developed a number products and solutions for enhanced surgical care," says Lisa Mackie, Business Manager- Infection Prevention Division at 3M Health Care. "Developing an ERAS strategy involves many healthcare disciplines and collaboration across all the groups, and including industry is the key to success. This is a first step and it was a privilege to be involved." "The synergy and level of engagement of our partners at the meeting was amazing," says Carla Williams. "You could feel the passion, energy and commitment in the room. It would have been difficult to foster the rich conversations we had at the table and build the same momentum virtually. And, we could not have accomplished what we did without our industry sponsors." The inaugural S3A-Surgical Care Safety Best Practices Partners meeting, held in Calgary, Alberta, on January 29, 2016, has created a burning platform for the development of a dissemination and implementation strategy to advance the evidence-informed principles of ERAS in Canada. Some 24 organizations were invited to attend the face-to-face meeting, including representatives from Patients for Patient Safety Canada, the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada, Canada Health Infoway, various surgical specialties (Canadian Association of General Surgeons, Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Canada, Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society), provincial quality councils and allied health organizations (Dieticians of Canada, Canadian Physiotherapy Association, and Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists). Representatives from both 3M and Medatronics were also invited to attend the meeting and contribute to the discussions. "In addition to patient engagement, the ERAS principles also involve pain management, mobility and enhanced nutrition guidelines so we wanted to ensure the contribution of all relevant stakeholders," says Carla Williams. "The value of all of our partners working together is essential to achieving great outcomes with ERAS." A number of sites of excellence have already embraced ERAS principles, including Alberta Health Services (AHS), British Columbia Patient Safety & Quality Council and the Doctors of British Columbia, Eastern Health, McGill University Health Centre, and University of Toronto Best Practices in Surgery. During the meeting, AHS, McGill and the University of Toronto shared their learnings. Based on input from the meeting, a project charter has been developed to incorporate seven ERAS principles in all surgical carePatient engagement and awareness of the ERAS principles.Nutrition guidelines (pre and –post-op) that include no NPO (fasting at midnight), carb-loading pre-op, and feeding on post-op day zero.Intra-operative fluid management.Pain management and opioid sparing.Minimization of nausea and ileus.Minimization of tubes and drains.Early post-operative mobility. It was also agreed that data collection and measurement would be an integral part of this work. "The discussions during the meeting were very powerful," says Lisa Mackie. "Dr. Claude LaFlamme and Carla Williams did a fantastic job in setting up the day and leading the group discussions to scope out a plan to take this initiative forward." The identification of emerging best practices in surgical care safety along with a plan to spread and implement these best practices is one of the actions reflected in the Integrated Patient Safety Action Plan for Surgical Care Safety. Given the improved patient outcomes, ERAS principles emerged quickly as the logical choice. ERAS was originally developed exclusively for colorectal surgeries, however, the learning and evidence indicate that the same principles can be applied to any type of surgery. For more information on ERAS initiative, contact Carla Williams cwilliams@cpsi-icsp.ca5/1/2017 6:00:00 AMThis article is the first in a series on Enhanced Recovery After Surgery. As the national strategy evolves, information for the public, providers5/8/2017 5:17:14 PM
Joint Centres InnovationEX 20179107Patient Safety NewsInvitational Forum on Reducing Harm - April 5, 2017 Transparency and culture change key to patient safety See the patient in front of you as an individual, care for them to the best of your abilities and apologize to them directly in a timely manner if you make a mistake. That is a distillation of some of the patient-centred advice provided at a comprehensive review of patient safety and reducing harm in hospitals provided by a range of participants at the forum held in conjunction with the 4th annual InnovationEX of the Joint Centres for Transformative Health Care Innovation held at Markham-Stouffville Hospital. Markham-Stouffville is a member of the Joint Centres along with Mackenzie Health, Michael Garron Hospital, North York General Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre and St. Joseph's Health Centre. In addition to this year's focus on patient safety, the event also showcased innovative work at the six hospitals aimed at improving quality, safety and bringing more value to the health care system. "You're doing innovation in the best way. You're doing innovation as it's touching patients," said Dr. Bob Bell, Deputy Minister of Health and Long-term Care in his introductory remarks. In his presentation, Bell focused on how the revised Quality of Care Information Protection Act, to be proclaimed this summer, will increase transparency in dealing with preventable errors in hospitals. As keynote speaker at the forum, Chris Power, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) provided a comprehensive overview of the status of patient safety in Canada today. "We know that in health care things go wrong despite our best efforts. But most times we get it right," she said. However, Power said someone in a Canadian acute care hospital dies from a preventable event every 17 minutes and this statistic has not changed much in recent years. Whether it is possible to totally eliminate such errors depends on your perspective, she said, with other speakers in the meeting opining that while total elimination of error was not possible much more could be done to reduce the impact to patients of such incidents. With communication breakdown identified as the main cause of preventable errors, Power said, the key to changing the situation lies in creating a safety culture, and improving teamwork and communications. Power then talked about work being done at CPSI to identify the "winning conditions" for improving patient safety. These conditions includeImproving the reliability of human decision-making – currently seriously underdeveloped in Canada because of a very strong tradition of clinical autonomy and suspicion of standardized work.Developing a sense of urgency about the issue – a sense that Power says that "appears to have waned" in recent years.A commitment to good governance and management commitment. Power and others talked about "pockets of excellence" in Canada while the governance capacity overall for system performance has not improved greatly.Access to reliable data of a granular nature that will be useful for individual clinician. Power said with the increased cadre of sophisticated patient-advocates "patients and the public are going to be the ones that transform health care. Not us." This was a theme that continued through the panel discussion that followed which included input from panel member, Diane McKenzie, patient and family advisor at St. Joseph's. The other major focus of the panel discussion was the comparison between managing patient safety in hospitals with how safety is dealt with in the aviation and space industries. Insights were provided by former astronaut and emergency room physician and now CEO of Southlake, Dr. Dave Williams, and Samuel Elfassy, managing director, corporate safety, environment and quality for Air Canada. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Joshua Tepper, president and CEO of Health Quality Ontario. Safety is one of the six dimensions of quality that defines a high quality health care system and drives the work of Health Quality Ontario. Comparing and contrasting safety in the hospital sector with that of the aviation industry is a long-standing fixture in patient safety debates and from the panel discussion it was clear clinicians still need to do more to embrace the culture ingrained in pilots and astronauts. Elfassy said changing the culture in hospitals will require a lot of transparency, data and personal story telling. Williams evoked the power of story-telling and shared the impact that unexpected outcomes let alone medical errors can have on clinical staff when he spoke of becoming tearful recently while giving rounds at Southlake discussing an incident from 30 years ago where no errors were made but there was a very tragic outcome. Williams noted those in the aviation industry have an extensive exposure to a terminology and culture of safety that is only just starting to be embraced by medicine. While Williams and Power focused on the need for more standardization in health care, McKenzie added that providers need to account for the individual needs of patients at the same time. The discussion briefly touched on whether fiscal restraints on hospitals had an impact on patient safety. Power and others noted all variables impacting patient care in hospital such as bed shortages should be viewed through a safety lens. Hospitals will continue to need to provide the highest quality and safest care within the constraints of their funding envelopes. The discussion concluded by returning to the focus on individual patient care to improve patient safety and reduce medical error. McKenzie noted that while developing standards of care are very important there must also be recognition that some patients will not fit the care models that are developed and there must be a process to ensure they also receive optimal care. "We promise patients the highest quality of care and we will build their trust when we fulfill that promise," said Tepper. Dr. Tim Rutledge, Chair of the Joint Centres, wrapped up the forum and set the tone for continued work on the issue of reducing harm by reiterating "we need a culture of trust, a culture of learning and a culture of collaboration". He noted there was a palpable sense this existed in the organizations who participated in the forum.4/19/2017 6:00:00 AMInvitational Forum on Reducing Harm - April 5, 2017 Transparency and culture change key to patient safety See the patient in front of you as an4/19/2017 4:42:41 PM
Patient Safety Power Play: Let’s celebrate!9194Patient Safety Power Plays I have a favour to ask. Please take a few moments out of your day to celebrate someone important to you who is making a difference. Whatever the reason, large or small, take the time and make the effort to celebrate one another. In the workplace, especially one as frantic as healthcare, these can be moments that bring colleagues together and build a stronger culture. In the realm of patient safety, for instance, time is running out to submit your nominations for the Patient Safety Champion Awards. Presented in partnership with our good friends at HealthCareCAN, these awards are your opportunity to recognize both volunteers, and entire organizations, for the work they do to engage with patients and families and ensure they're at the centre of all patient safety initiatives. Not only that, but winners will be flown to the National Health Leaders Conference to accept their award. After the awards ceremony, we're going to host a webinar with the winners and runners-up, where we can share the work they've done with the country and encourage others to follow their example. The deadline to submit your nominations has just been extended to April to give everyone one last chance to submit their nomination. Win or lose, a nomination itself is a tremendous gesture that will leave a lasting impression on someone very deserving. For some inspiration, you can learn all about Johanna Trimble and Michael Garron Hospital, who were the winners of the Patient Safety Champion Awards last year. I for one am looking forward to celebrating our Patient Safety Champions this June at the National Health Leaders Conference. How about you? Any celebrations to share, or people to recognize? I invite you to connect with me at or follow me on Twitter @ChrisPowerCPSI. Yours in patient safety, Chris Power4/11/2017 6:00:00 AMI have a favour to ask. Please take a few moments out of your day to celebrate someone important to you who is making a difference. Whatever the4/11/2017 7:31:19 PM
Niagara Health- Focused on Raising Awareness of Never Events 9165Patient Safety News It was all in the timing. Years before the pan-Canadian list of Never Events was released in September 2015, Niagara Health in Southern Ontario had already begun looking at ways to advance its safety culture. Never Events, named for being incidents that should never happen, can include instances of child abductions, suicides or patients receiving the wrong surgery. Niagara Health recognized that even one Never Event was one too many. With the hospital organization's new strategic plan containing a focus on ingraining a culture of safety and eliminating preventable harm in order to provide extraordinary care, this was seen as a perfect opportunity to embed Never Events within its strategic visioning to combat the challenges in different ways. A report, prepared by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Health Quality Ontario with many partners, specified 15 of the most serious known patient safety incidents and offered guidance on how hospitals might avert them. Those guidelines are not binding, so it remains up to healthcare organizations to decide if and how best to develop strategies that will help prevent such incidents. "It was actually the Never Events report itself that triggered the added patient safety attention because we saw it as an avenue to increase awareness, to focus on where we were with this set of 15 and did we need to do something about it," said Marilyn Kalmats, Director of Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Management at Niagara Health. As part of an organization that is focused on continuous learning and improvement, the report prompted the question "Were we missing something?" Niagara Health began reevaluating what it considered to be classified as a never event, prompting clinical staff and administration to take another look at prevention methods. Project teams with a clinical lead and physician lead as well as front-line staff were formed for each of the 15 event types, and were responsible for conducting a gap analysis for each one. A corporate gamification engagement strategy known as "Bridge to Extraordinary" was already in place at Niagara Health to help with education and information transfer about important topics. The organization – which services 430,000 patients from 12 municipalities across six sites was able to use this strategy to bring attention to Never Events in a fun and interactive way. Should a never event happen, they would apply the critical incident process which is already in place and involves a root cause analysis of the factors contributing to the incident, along with the development of recommendations to prevent future occurrences. Monthly reporting to the Executive Leadership Team and the Board Quality Committee are also a key part of this process. "We'd already done a lot of the leg work," said Zeau Ismail, Manager of Quality and Patient Safety at Niagara Health in speaking about the incident review process. "So when the report came out we tied it to the work we were already doing. If we hadn't had the foundation we built, this process wouldn't have been so easy to implement." Raising awareness of Never Events for all hospital staff was key, he said, adding creating a culture of safety, and responding to incidents in a non-punitive, transparent way helped build trust and put the emphasis on prevention. A successful tactic that was part of the Never Events campaign was to have all staff, not just clinical staff, participate in the learning and awareness of Never Events. As part of the corporate gamification strategy "Bridge to Extraordinary" for the month of June the Never Events were highlighted. Coffee cards were handed out as prizes for short quizzes in the monthly Never Events bulletins. Never Events were also discussed as learning opportunities at weekly huddle meetings – face-to-face gatherings of all staff at every site in public settings where anyone can listen in. "We talk about what we are focusing on and how we are going to improve in front of the general public," said Ismail. "It can be uncomfortable at times, but if we don't talk about this, we're not going to improve." If you would like to share your story on how your organization is focusing efforts to reduce never events, please contact the Canadian Patient Safety Institute at 3/17/2017 6:00:00 AMIt was all in the timing. Years before the pan-Canadian list of Never Events was released in September 2015, Niagara Health in Southern Ontario3/21/2017 6:56:46 PM

 Upcoming Events



Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course 5386Ottawa, ON 12:00:00 AM6/1/2017 11:59:00 PMThe Canadian Patient Safety Institute is proud to support this event.9/20/2016 7:25:04 PM
Atlantic Health Quality & Patient Safety Learning Exchange 20175388Charlottetown, PEI 2:00:00 PM5/31/2017 10:00:00 PMThe Atlantic Learning Exchange 2017 is a must-see and must be seen event that you do not want to miss! Join leaders and patient safety champions who will be gathering for a two-day quality and patient safety knowledge exchange. 9/20/2016 7:26:46 PM
PSEP – Canada’s Innovations in Patient Safety Education Award5439 12:00:00 AM6/2/2017 11:59:00 PMThe Innovations in Patient Safety Education Award recognizes organizations, groups or individuals that demonstrate exemplary practices in patient safety education and quality improvement work using the PSEP – Canada program.4/25/2017 8:44:51 PM Event
2017 National Forum on Simulation for Quality & Safety5432Edmonton, AB 2:00:00 PM6/8/2017 10:00:00 PMThe Canadian Patient Safety Institute is a proud sponsor of this event.This event is presented by SIM-One3/3/2017 6:24:43 PM
National Health Leadership Conference 5413 12:00:00 AM6/13/2017 11:59:00 PMThe Great Canadian Healthcare Debate offers health leaders a unique opportunity to debate and pass policy resolutions that reflect the current Canadian health system context and address the most pressing issues facing the healthcare system and health leaders today.12/15/2016 6:13:24 PM