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July 20, 2016

Ottawa – SHIFT to Safety, a new initiative aimed at reducing the number of harmful and sometimes deadly mistakes that occur in Canadian healthcare facilities each year, was launched today by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI).

SHIFT to Safety is the source for patient safety information in Canada for members of the public, healthcare providers and healthcare leaders. This national database of essential information and advice will help you to navigate the healthcare system and advocate for patient safety.

SHIFT to Safety will help:

  • Patients and their families shift to advocate for their healthcare safety.
  • Healthcare providers shift to prioritize safety when caring for patients.
  • Leaders in healthcare organizations shift to create a positive patient safety culture.

SHIFT to Safety aims to answer the most pressing questions in patient safety:

  • How do I prevent harm?
  • How can I respond when harm happens?
  • How can I learn from harm that’s already happened?

"The Canadian Patient Safety Institute has existed for 12 years," said Chris Power, CEO. "In that time, we have largely focused our patient safety and quality improvement efforts on healthcare providers delivering care on the frontline. We have come to realize that these efforts need to be directed at all facets of the healthcare system if we are to help Canadians stay safe in a clinical environment."

Last year, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute conducted an exhaustive consultation process with both its users and staff to better understand the need going forward.

While patients, family members, providers and leaders each had their own primary needs, what we heard can be distilled into three themes:

  • Fear of speaking up - clearly identified desire to have opportunities for safe dialogue that would promote patient safety.
  • Lack of communication - people within the health system are reaching out, looking for more ways to connect and breakdown the silos and complexity of health care.
  • Too much work - Within the health system people are looking for assistance with team training and problem solving skills, they cannot and will not adopt another patient safety ‘solution’ which layers on complexity and procedure. includes extensive resources designed to reduce avoidable harm and improve care. For example, patients and healthcare providers are directed to a checklist of five questions that patients should raise with their physicians to make sure they don’t unwittingly put themselves in harm’s way. Visitors to the site can access a wide range of resources that will contribute to ongoing patient safety, education and awareness as the site continues to grow.

"Improving patient care safety and quality in Canada requires everyone’s involvement. SHIFT to Safety is empowering people with the tools and information they need to keep patients safe, whether you are a member of the public, a provider, or a leader," added Ms. Power. "This is just the beginning. What we have online now is just a fraction of what we’ll be releasing in the months and years to come."

"As a physician, I understand the importance of patients, clinicians, and administrators working together for the best patient health outcomes," said the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health. "The key benefit of SHIFT to Safety is that it gives all those involved immediate access to resources that facilitate communication and teamwork to ensure safe and high quality patient care."

"SHIFT to Safety will make it easier for us to engage with patients and families as full partners in care," said Dr. Alan Forster, Chief Quality and Performance Officer at The Ottawa Hospital. "Our focus is on providing high-quality, safe care, which means we need to continuously learn and improve. SHIFT to Safety will help us do that."

"It’s refreshing to see the public being given a greater voice in their own health care," said Barb Farlow of Patients for Patient Safety Canada. "We want to be active participants in our health care and these tools and resources now available through SHIFT to Safety will go a long way towards helping us realize that."

SHIFT to Safety is the product of in-depth interviews and joint consultations that were conducted with more than 90 stakeholders in 2015, including patients and family members, healthcare providers, and leaders, to better understand the needs and challenges of Canada’s healthcare system and how patient safety can be enhanced.

About Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI)

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety. Funded by Health Canada, CPSI reflects the desire to close the gap between the healthcare we have and the healthcare we deserve.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Cecilia Bloxom
Senior Director, Strategic Communications
Canadian Patient Safety Institute Phone (780) 700-8642