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CPSI Share                                                    
Provider; Leader
11/24/2019 5:00 PM

Picture of Chris PowerThis year, I have discussed our new public engagement campaigns several times since our mandate at the Canadian Patient Safety Institute is evolving. We continue to research and supply healthcare organizations with effective patient safety tools; we still encourage strong patient safety policy for leaders; and now we also focus on connecting with the public and patients about this silent epidemic – and what we can all do to keep ourselves safe.

We have had some wonderful successes in our efforts to connect. Over the past few months, we have organized four round table meetings with provincial Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Health. Hosted by members of Patients for Patient Safety Canada, we have meet in Winnipeg, St. John’s, Halifax and Fredericton to give local patient partners the opportunity to tell their stories of harm and to ask that provincial governments commit to making care safer.

Safer care has certainly caught the public’s attention. On November 6, the Canadian Institute for Health Information released a biannual comparison of healthcare performance among over 30 first-world nations. Compared with other countries, Canada does a good job of documenting, reporting, and acting on patient safety issues. However, we still have much room for improvement, since the report stated that not only are patients twice as likely to experience tears during childbirth and develop lung clots after hip and knee surgery, but that Canada also reported the highest number of items left behind inside patients after surgery.

In response to media requests, CPSI highlighted that the public doesn’t know much about patient safety incidents. We called for a higher commitment to safer care, not by placing blame, but instead by inviting everyone concerned to learn about healthcare harm and make it a priority. We have to work together to identify the patient safety gaps, share ways to resolve them, and establish a patient safety culture in Canada.

The messages we shared in response to the report were similar to those declared during this year’s Canadian Patient Safety Week. We launched our #ConquerSilence campaign to improve communication in the healthcare system to help reduce preventable patient harm in Canada. We engaged both new and existing audiences, built partnerships founded on patient safety, and heard from many people about the popularity of #ConquerSilence.

This popularity assured us that we are headed in the right direction, as #ConquerSilence did not end with Canadian Patient Safety Week: it is also our first long-term public engagement campaign. We built a platform that will stand against silence and build momentum over time. We will continue to encourage members of the public, healthcare providers, and healthcare leaders to anonymously record and listen to stories and advice about preventable harm at

#ConquerSilence will feature different patient safety issues throughout the year, plus offer resources to help the public and healthcare providers battle systemic silence. The first issue we are tackling is medication safety, featuring materials on how to speak up when issues arise with medications. Other issues we will tackle through the campaign will include misdiagnoses and miscommunication, traumas, infections, pressure wounds, and deteriorating patient condition.

I am thrilled that you have joined us to keep making safe healthcare a priority.

Questions? Comments? My inbox is open to you anytime at, and you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisPowerCPSI.

Yours in patient safety,

Chris Power