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In January 2014, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) kick started a year of consortium and summit meetings to bring everyone with a vested interest in improving Canada’s healthcare system to the table around a common goal – championing an Integrated Patient Safety Action Plan to advance patient safety and quality in four key areas: surgical care safety, medication safety, home care, and infection prevention and control.
 Since the inaugural consortium meeting on January 27, 2014, national summits focussed on surgical safety, medication safety and home care have taken place. A patient safety education roundtable meeting is planned for January 20, 2015.
In the past two weeks, a fourth summit on infection prevention and control was held, followed by a second consortium meeting to update everyone on the progress that’s been made to date. Below is a quick recap of these two events:
Infection Prevention and Control Summit, November 20, 2014
In keeping with previous summits, the Infection Prevention and Control Summit was an opportunity for experts and stakeholders to develop a list of actions to influence infection prevention and control related outcomes in Canada.
An estimated 220,000 patients develop a healthcare acquired infection every year. More than $100 million is spent annually to treat C. difficile, MRSA and surgical site infections, irrespective of the human costs. The fact that this barely registers a response from the general public is the first indication that something needs to change.
Some of the key themes to come out of the summit are: culture and behaviour change, partnering with patients and families, measurement and surveillance, applying knowledge and implementing standards, and developing and sharing standards, best practices and policies.
Second Meeting of National Patient Safety Consortium, November 27, 2014
Nearly a year later, representatives from more than 40 organizations gathered once again, reaffirming their commitment to the objectives outlined in the Integrated Patient Safety Action Plan. The  action plan weaves together the actions arising from the summits in the four key areas and is built upon a shared leadership model. Lead organizations and participating organizations are spread across the country. This collaboration will create the synergy and coordination required to accelerate improvement in patient safety in Canada.
Representing all facets of the Canadian healthcare system, including governments, healthcare professionals, and patients and families to name a few, the group took the time to reflect and update each other on the progress made since they last met. The beauty of the consortium is that everyone in the room takes accountability for a piece of the puzzle and no one organization is left to handle the bulk of the work.
As one attendee remarked following the meeting, “we’ve now got a shared focus on patient safety in Canada. The purpose of the consortium, to drive a shared action plan for safer healthcare, is really coming into view.” Actions from the first phase of the Integrated Patient Safety Action Plan will continue to roll out over the 2015-16 fiscal year. The second phase will continue on to 2018.