Theresa Fillatre (left) looks on as Hugh MacLeod, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (right) is assisted by Sir John A. MacDonald from the Confederation Players (middle) in launching the Atlantic Health Quality and Patient Safety Collaborative|
Bringing together healthcare providers and policy makers from each of the Atlantic Provinces, the Atlantic Learning Exchange, held in Charlottetown, PEI, on May 11 and 12, 2011, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn and share the latest efforts and activities related to patient safety and quality improvement.
Over 150 participants, including frontline staff, physicians, quality and system performance support staff, individuals focused on governance, CEOs, senior leaders, health department and Government representatives and interested members of the public took part in the two day event.
“Every province and organization has amazing pockets of excellence and good practices,” says Theresa Fillatre, one of the Learning Exchange organizers and Senior Director, Atlantic Canada and National Leader
Safer Healthcare Now! , Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI). “The enthusiasm to come together on common quality and patient issues and solutions was remarkable.”
The Learning Exchange provided participants with an overview of Atlantic provincial quality and patient safety frameworks, structures and priorities,
“Setting the Stage: Where Are Ye To?”, which included a panel discussion with Chairs/Designates from each of the four provinces:
Bordage, NB; Dr. Pat Croskerry, NS; Wayne Miller Newfoundland and Labrador; and Keith Dewar, PEI.
“To varying degrees, we have all experienced adverse events in our organizations and have learned a great deal by managing those, sometimes well and sometimes not so well,” says Blaise MacNeil, President and CEO of South West Health in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. “The sharing and group discussions in the Atlantic context were a powerful vehicle for learning.”
Providing insight on how an adverse event affects personal and professional lives, a presentation by Dale Nixon and Dr. Rick Singleton,
“The Healing of Hurts and the Hurts of Healing” resonated strongly with conference participants.
“The session put a human face on adverse events, focusing on what can be done to learn from them and the importance of engaging with patients and families on disclosure, apology and system improvements,” says Wayne Miller, Vice-President of Quality, Patient Safety and Planning, Eastern Health in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
For Dr. Brian Wheelock, Chief of Staff for the St. John zone, Horizon Health Network, New Brunswick, one of the highlights was the presentation on medication reconciliation. “Med Rec is one of the most difficult issues we face in quality and patient safety and I was pleased to hear what others are doing and to learn about the emphasis that CPSI is putting on medication reconciliation to help us in our work.”
Nancy Roberts, VP Health Services Planning, Quality and Research, Horizon Health Network in New Brunswick emphasized how important events like the Exchange are for the healthcare system. “With all of the restructuring over the last three years, there has been significant attention focused on the sustainability and financial aspects of the system. We need to maintain a balance and ensure patient safety and quality care remains our primary focus. The Learning Exchange provided over 15 concrete examples of processes that are being used successfully in healthcare facilities across Atlantic Canada that we can adapt and apply within our own organizations.”
Atlantic Health Quality and Patient Safety Collaborative (AHQPSC) was also officially launched during the Learning Exchange. Comprised of representatives from each of the Atlantic Provinces, the goal of the Collaborative is to develop common strategies that will improve the safety of healthcare and bring recommendations back to their respective Health Ministries. The AHQPSC had its first annual face-to-face meeting on June 22nd to review feedback from the Learning Exchange and prioritize what they will address together.
“Patient safety and quality improvement transcends jurisdictional boundaries,” says Keith Dewar, CEO of Health PEI. “When you cut to the chase, these are issues that we all have to deal with and we can all learn from one another.”
New Brunswick will be the host province for the next Atlantic Learning Exchange, to take place in 2013.
To access copies of the presentations given at the Atlantic Learning Exchange,