With the support of the Government of Canada, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially designated the Canadian Patient Safety Institute as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety and Patient Engagement to carry out activities in support of WHO programs internationally. Of the more than 800 WHO Collaborating Centres from 80 countries worldwide, 31 are from Canada. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute is the only WHO Collaborating Centre in Canada with a focus on both patient safety and patient engagement.
The four-year agreement (2017-2021) will include activities targeted in four areas:
- Provide coordination support and advice to the global Patients for Patient Safety (PFPS) advisory group
- Support global efforts and initiatives on patient safety reporting and learning systems
- Contribute to the planning and implementation of the 3rd Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety
- Support global patient safety initiatives in achieving safer care
"The Canadian Patient Safety Institute has a long-standing collaborative relationship with the WHO Patient Safety Programme internationally, and has been a catalyst in developing collaborative partnerships across the country," says Chris Power, CEO, Canadian Patient Safety Institute. "We have benefited from the support of the WHO and their members in the development of Canadian products and services, and indirectly we have provided Canadian support to assist transitional and developing countries. We are excited about this opportunity to advance safer care through patient safety and patient engagement, both locally and globally."
Building on the Canadian Patient Safety Institute's well established support to Patients for Patient Safety Canada over the past 10 years, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute will provide support to the global PFPS advisory group that will include coordination and secretariat support for the WHO PFPS Advisory Network and building capacity for patient/family champions and leaders of PFPS global networks. Each year of the agreement, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute will coordinate quarterly meetings of the PFPS advisory group and deliver three knowledge transfer webinars in English and French, to build capacity of the Network's patient safety champions and leaders.
"The WHO's PFPS programme engages patients and families in improving the safety of health care, to enhance and build capacity, and to become informed and knowledgeable partners in their own care," says Helen Haskell, Co-chair, WHO Patients for Patient Safety Advisory Group. "PFPS workshops bring together PFPS advocates, health care professionals, local leaders, health care organizations and policy-makers to share knowledge about the national health system and to explore mechanisms to improve patient engagement for safety. Working with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute as a WHO Collaborating Centre provides the opportunity to share our experiences and knowledge on patient safety and patient engagement."
To broaden reporting, learning and sharing from harm, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute hosts Global Patient Safety Alerts, a web-based resource featuring a comprehensive collection of patient safety alerts, advisories and recommendations from around the world. Work will continue to expand its use and contributions from international organizations.
"Too much healthcare delivered around the world carries avoidable harm," says Sir Liam Donaldson, Patient Safety Envoy, WHO. "With tools like Global Patient Safety Alerts, we can effectively share information about patient safety risks and effective ways to manage those risks and prevent harm. Through initiatives like the WHO Collaborating Centers, the processes to collect, analyze, communicate and disseminate information and trends to users and potential contributors can be improved."
As the Canadian coordinating body, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute is participating in the 3rd Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute is a member of the WHO Patients and Public Working Group and provides expertise and support to the global medication safety challenge.
Maryann Murray, a member of Patients for Patient Safety Canada, recently addressed the World Health Assembly's annual meeting to share her experiences leading to her daughter's death, and highlighted the Five Questions to Ask about Your Medications, a Canadian tool developed by patients and providers on how to have a conversation about safe medication use. The tool is available in 20 different languages. "The challenge of improving medication safety is now being embraced in Canada and around the world. By sharing knowledge and resources, we contribute to the development of universal products and tools that will assist in significantly reducing medication harm around the globe," says Maryann Murray.
To support global patient safety initiatives, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute will provide policy, strategic and technical advice and consultation at various platforms including WHO global and regional consultations or events, working groups, and committees; and provide advice and support in the development, adaptation, spread, and/or evaluation of patient safety tools and resources at a global level.
Patient engagement is a priority for many Canadian organizations. Led by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, the National Patient Safety Consortium, a group of more than 50 organizations, established the Integrated Patient Safety Action Plan, a shared action plan for safer healthcare. One of the plan's guiding principles is patient engagement.
"Patient engagement is a core strategy for advancing universal health coverage, safe and quality health care, service coordination and people-centredness," says Dr. Neelam Dhingra-Kumar, Coordinator, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, WHO headquarters, Geneva. "Canada is recognized as a world leader in both patient safety and patient engagement so we believe that this collaboration will help improve lives around the world."
For more information about the WHO Collaborating Centre designation, visit the WHO website.