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CPSI Share                                                  
3/22/2012 6:00 PM

​​​Patient safety is viewed as everyone’s role at The Credit Valley Hospital and Trillium Health Centre, located in the Mississauga-Halton Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). The Trillium Health Centre site is using the Patient Safety Education Program Canada (PSEP Canada) to bring patient safety education into the clinical domain and plant the seeds to enhance their patient safety culture.

Dr. Amir Ginzburg, Physician Director, Patient Safety and Quality at the Trillium Health Centre site became a PSEP Canada Master Facilitator in 2010. Over the last year, members of an interprofessional team from Trillium were certified as PSEP Canada Patient Safety Educators to build the resources needed to launch a patient safety education program locally.  Based on a needs assessment to identify high yield educational opportunities, a 14-hour curriculum was developed that is being delivered in two different streams in a concurrent timeframe. 

The first stream is a series of Lunch and Learn sessions open to all staff, where the curriculum is being offered in 45-minute to one-hour sessions; the second stream is the development of a cadre of 45 PSEP Canada Ambassadors from across the various health systems at Trillium, to whom the course is deployed in three half-day sessions over a four-month period.   During Canadian Patient Safety Week in November 2011, the PSEP Canada program was launched at two Trillium Health Centre sites, located in Mississauga and West Toronto.

“We have reached about 300 people in the organization thus far and it has snowballed in an organic way that is very exciting,” says Dr. Ginzburg. “There has been a lot of peer-to-peer spread reinforcing that this education is of high value.  We are using techniques aimed at adult learners and our staff are walking away from the sessions with two or three usable concepts that translate into changes in behaviour and practice.”

Dr. Ginzburg says that the amount of energy and planning that goes into rolling out the curriculum is quite significant. They ensure that the information presented is appropriate for the diverse inter-professional experiences of their participants; and when delivering the program they try to blend different teaching styles every 15 to 20 minutes to reach adult learners where they live.  “A lot of preparation goes into making this work, both for the organization as a whole and for the outcomes we are expecting to materialize, but also to make it a high quality event for the participants and the learners,” says Dr. Ginzburg.

The Lunch and Learn sessions, held twice per month, are attracting 35 to 60 people at the Mississauga site and another 20 to 30 at the West Toronto site.  Topics have included gaps in patient safety, patient safety and leadership, organizational culture, patients as partners, human factors, medication safety, falls, teamwork and communication, and the effects of technology on patient safety.

The Trillium PSEP Canada Ambassadors come from each Health System within the organization and are being trained to act as a safety net for the entire organization.  “The robust PSEP Canada accordion curriculum provides enough material to really galvanize interest,” says Jo-Anne Copeland, Quality and Patient Safety Advisor. “You have trigger tapes to help spark some of the topics and discussion, as well as some creative interactive tabletop exercises to choose from.  The PSEP Canada materials provide a good core to start with, so that you can pick and choose and customise it to reach your audience. You certainly see a difference using the adult education model as it gives you several different tools for people to learn from and there is significantly more interaction.  As a presenter, it helps me keep it fresh for the participants.”

Sonya Pak, Director of Quality and Patient Safety, reinforces that physician engagement upfront is critical to the success and rollout of their education program.  “Trillium has the luxury of having Dr. Ginzburg as a Master Facilitator and that has been extremely helpful,” says Pak.  “Having physician leadership that is visible as an educator and someone we can bounce ideas off just enriches the program.”

Pak says that the program has surpassed their expectations. “The conversations that have emerged from the PSEP – Canada Ambassador program and the Lunch and Learn workshops have been very stimulating. And we are now doing things on the frontline to move in a positive direction and advance the culture of patient safety.”  

The program educators are now looking at ways to sustain the momentum and use the training materials throughout the entire organization.  The focus moving forward is to put the right structure behind those that have been trained to ensure that they are supported to continue the culture change that has been initiated.  During Canadian Patient Safety Week 2012 this fall, the PSEP Canada Ambassadors will be asked to share their stories through poster or verbal presentations on what they have done in their respective areas based on the knowledge gained through the PSEP Canada program.

“We are looking for peer-to-peer spread of the concepts and some of our ambassadors are motivated to provide in-services on the wards to their colleagues or other staff,” adds Dr. Ginzburg.  “We plan to do walk-arounds with middle and senior leaders to showcase the lens that the ambassadors are now bringing to their care areas and to deal with safety issues in real time.  PSEP Canada is the vehicle that we feel will help take our patient safety culture to the next level.”

This article is the first in a series on the Patient Safety Education Program Canada to highlight how healthcare organizations have adapted the curriculum to advance the culture of patient safety.  Click here for more information on PSEP Canada or visit