Margaret Hanlon-Bell is the Chief Executive Officer of Saegis, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA); Dr. Tom Lloyd is Director of the Saegis Safety Institute, responsible for the planning and direction of programs for physicians, healthcare professionals and institutions. Saegis was established by the CMPA in 2017.
Margaret Hanlon-Bell Dr. Tom Lloyd
Why was Saegis created?
Margaret: Through research and data gathered by the CMPA, it was determined that there was a greater need in the healthcare space to reach out to multidisciplinary healthcare teams and to hospitals and institutions with programs that focus on reducing risk and improving outcomes for both patients and healthcare professionals. Saegis was formed to meet that need. The mission of Saegis is to make a difference in healthcare provider and patient experience through professional development, quality improvement and practice management solutions.
What is unique about the programs and services you offer?
Margaret: We have been able to leverage some of the work that the CMPA has done with physicians over the years and provide additional, complementary programs to multidisciplinary teams. We have looked at the medical-legal risks and applied what we have learned from their outcomes to both the system and the culture, from a team perspective. Knowledge and communication are key in improving patient safety across the country. From a broad view, the core areas we focus on include teamwork and communication, changing culture, and disclosure.
Our SafeOR program is unique in that it is an educational and quality improvement program designed to generate lasting improvements to the safety, efficiency and culture of hospital operating rooms (ORs). The program leverages intra-operative data and insights from the OR Black Box, developed by Dr. Teodor Grantcharov from St. Michael's Hospital. The program delivers customized and evidence-based education, coaching and other safety initiatives for operating room teams.
Another area we focus on is practice management. We are helping clinics that are not within institutions, both large and small, to improve their safety for both patients and healthcare professionals. One of the first products we are launching is a cybersecurity program, as many clinics do not have the necessary infrastructure in place to deal with these types of issues.
How do you determine what patient safety programs Saegis will provide?
Tom: What is important is that we are not trying to reinvent the wheel here. There are some great courses and interventions from around the world and also within Canada that we are leveraging. For example, we partnered with the University of Toronto on an opioid-prescribing educational session that we are moving across the country. We partnered with Outcome Engenuity, who have decades of experience in just culture, to bring that program to Canada. There is a communication program that has been running for many years in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and many other jurisdictions with some great results, so we partnered with the Cognitive Institute and Medical Protection Society to bring the Clinical Communication Program to Canada to fill that need.
In terms of engagement, we look at trends from CMPA data, review the literature, and have thoughtful discussions with colleges and hospitals to identify the gaps. Then we put together meaningful interventions that are going to drive change. When we can get many people from different disciplines within the same organizations talking the same language, looking at barriers, and doing things together along the lines of a program, we have a much better chance of driving the cultural change.
With the experience you bring to the table, can you share any key learnings or "Aha!" moments?
Margaret: It is very important that the focus in healthcare is on improving culture within institutions. There is a realization that this will lead to improved outcomes for all. When I look at the Saegis product offering, I see programs specifically designed to help improve communication and culture and to help reduce risk. It is very exciting.
Tom: I trained in surgery in the UK and have worked in the medical-legal field for about 12 years and I have seen many medical-legal and patient safety events. Whether it is here in Canada, across the UK, Ireland, South Africa or the Far East, it is basically the same issues that are causing trouble. Communications in all forms and the impact of culture are the drivers I have frequently experienced. You have an individual responsibility, but the environment that you work in also has a big impact. When I think about just culture, if you can institute that, you can make quite a difference in the way that a unit, a department, or even an organization operates. The surrounding culture is so important if you're really going to push a healthy attitude toward patient safety and make things right for both staff and patients.
Where can we go to learn more and what call to action would you like to leave with us?
Tom: The message I would like to leave with physicians and healthcare providers is the value of teamwork, communication and culture and how that can have a significant impact on their ability to practice safely. If you can develop skills and knowledge in these areas, you can make a difference for patient safety.
Margaret: I would encourage people to visit our website and engage with us. Let's see what we can do to partner with you and help you achieve your goals in professional development, quality improvement and practice management. I encourage you to subscribe to our e-newsletter and sign-up to receive program updates on a regular basis.
For more information, visit https://saegis.solutions