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CPSI Share                                                    
11/2/2016 7:00 AM

Congratulations to Montreal Children's Hospital, who received honourable mention for the 2016 Team/Organizational Champion Award for the "We should talk" patient safety campaign.

Communication is the foundation of everything in terms of optimizing the family experience in patient safety and enhancing staff safety and partnerships. We Should Talk was developed as an awareness campaign, aimed to inspire everyone at Montreal Children's Hospital to more effectively communicate, with the goal to prevent harm. The core mantra of the campaign is twofold: When something's not right, we need to listen -- Our patients, our responsibility; and When something's not right, tell us, we are listening -- Your health is our priority.


The idea for the We should talk campaign was conceived by Dr. Sasha Dubrovsky and Dr. Samara Zavalkoff while attending the Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course in Ottawa. Once back at the hospital, they enlisted the support of Dr. Nadine Korah, who had just completed a Master's degree in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. The trio were quickly pegged, the Three Musketeers, in recognition of their leadership and passion for patient safety. The campaign has been supported by a multi-disciplinary team that included family advisors as fully-integrated members of the project team. By merging forces and collaborating the momentum for the campaign grew exponentially.


We should talk promotes a culture of patient safety. Launched during Canadian Patient Safety Week 2015, the one-year innovative project has raised awareness through a fun and innovative multi-media campaign, and built capacity for data to be used as a continuous quality improvement (CQI) tool to drive vital behavioural change.

A We should talk engagement wall was developed where staff, patients and families sign their names in support of the project. A social media campaign was deployed to reach community clients and partners, and to promote four humorous videos. We should talk tools, appropriately branded, were also embedded throughout the organization to promote awareness. A welcome guide was given to all new admissions; the volunteer "meet and greet" program introduced the campaign to in-patients and families; magnets on patient's white boards and lanyards worn by staff were used as a prompt to speak up and voice safety concerns; print ads, colouring books and games were strategically placed throughout the hospital; and video ads running in waiting rooms encouraged conversations between patients and staff.

The results of these efforts are impressive! Between January and May 2016, the social media campaign generated 850,000 user impressions, as well as 18,000 users engaging with the content through likes, comments, shares and clicks. Throughout the campaign, the content generated 4,000 likes on Facebook. Visibility surveys with patients and families indicated that 80 per cent noticed the campaign and 50 per cent understood the core message. About one-third were encouraged to make changes in their interactions with providers as a result. Visibility surveys with staff indicated that 80 per cent saw the print adds more than five times, 45 per cent watched the videos, and 90 percent understood the core message. About one-third of respondents said they wore We should talk lanyards, amongst whom 55 per cent were positively influenced to communication more effectively.

"We should talk has spurred a lot of changes in our organization," says Dr. Sasha Dubrovsky, an emergency doctor who led the project. "On the front end, it was an awareness campaign; on the back end it has helped to build the infrastructure necessary for continuous quality improvement. We are now measuring the patient experience in more care areas and sharing that data with frontline staff. By empowering frontline staff and managers in continuous quality improvement methodology we can spread our knowledge and lessons learned to effectively communicate for patient safety."

Gabrielle Cunningham-Allard, Project Coordinator for the We should talk multi-disciplinary team and submitted the nomination for the 2016 Patient Safety Champion Award. "The We should talk campaign was meant to inspire actions that highlight how an organization can foster grassroots improvement ideas from frontline clinicians in order to improve patient engagement for patient safety," says Gabrielle Cunningham-Allard. "It is an exemplary case study that demonstrates how to speak up and listen up to successfully engage with patients and families."

The campaign was aligned with multi-generational projects led by the hospital's Bureau de la Qualité et de l'Amélioration Continue (BQAC) where core messages and values are integrated into communication workshops, inter-professional simulations and Lean Six Sigma CQI courses. The We should talk campaign is now being handed over to BQAC for the next phase of its life cycle.

"My dream is that our hospital transforms its culture of improvement to frontline staff with family partners," says Dr. Dubrovsky. "We are working hard to train and build that capacity with frontline teams and family advisors in improvement projects. Those projects need to be visible and engaging in real time. Not everything has to be a big project; we just need to get together in a huddle and fix things together. The challenge is how to transform the culture from being someone else's job, to quality being everyone's job."

HealthCareCAN and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute have partnered to present the Patient Safety Champion Awards to recognize champions of patient safety - volunteer patient or family members and teams or organizations who demonstrate exemplary leadership and collaboration to champion change and achieve safer care through patient/family engagement. The Team/Organizational Champion Award recognizes a team or organization who, through exemplary patient centred care and patient engagement practices, contributed to a project or initiative that resulted in identifiable positive impact on patient safety outcomes.