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11/1/2010 6:00 PM

​​​​The 10th Anniversary meeting marked the end of the Halifax Series: The Canadian Healthcare Safety Symposium.  More than 400 participants gathered in Halifax, Nova Scotia from October 21-23, for the final meeting.

For this tenth anniversary, some of the great faculty from earlier symposia were invited back and challenged to reflect on what they had previously presented.  They were also asked to provide an update in light of current thinking and to share their perspectives on the next decade for patient safety.

Canadian and international leaders and experts guided delegates through conversations about the personal experiences of patients and families in the health system; lessons from other industries, disciplines and perspectives; and critical patient safety challenges such as measurement and apology.  Highlights included keynote presentations from Professors James Reason and Charles Vincent, both largely credited with pioneering and advancing the understanding of patient safety internationally.

Over the past decade the Halifax Symposia have been a major contributor to the patient safety landscape in Canada, contributing knowledge, tools, products and innovations; creating collaborative relationships that have resulted in both new and innovative programs, research and knowledge translation opportunities across many care delivery contexts; and providing information and insights on the challenges and opportunities for the use of evidence in policy and practice.  These activities have had a significant impact on patient safety improvements across Canada.

Thank you to all who contributed to and supported the Halifax symposia over the past decade. As this inspiring series ends, your continuing efforts will help accelerate the improvement of healthcare safety in Canada.

Halifax 10 Pre-Conference:  Disclosing, Informing and Investigating: Supporting a Culture of Safety

This interactive workshop gave the 100 participants practical experience in applying theoretical knowledge about providing information to different audiences following an adverse event. The session used participative methods such as role-play and creation of briefing notes to conduct team de-briefings, disclosure to patients and families, informing the Board and the public. The workshop wrapped up with the development of themes and questions that organizations should consider when preparing to investigate an event. Additionally, the participants were provided concrete examples of how simulation techniques can enhance the learning environment for individuals participating in the disclosure process.
The setting for this dynamic workshop was created through a video of a wrong-side surgery which formed the basis of discussion and a specific focus for the day. The simulation concept was developed collaboratively by the workshop moderator Dr. Viren Naik, Medical Director for the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre and a team from the EHS Atlantic Health Training and Simulation Centre led by Derek Leblanc, Emergency Health Services Nova Scotia Department of Health.

Initial feedback for the workshop celebrated the key differences about the information that needs to be passed at different levels of organizations.  Guest speakers brought a wealth of personal and professional experience to the discussion, providing excellent perspectives of these different levels. Speakers included Sabina Robin (Patients for Patient Safety Canada); Joan Dawe (Eastern Health, Newfoundland & Labrador); Cecilia Bloxom (Canadian Patient Safety Institute); Chuck Husak (August, Lang & Husak, Bethesda, Maryland); and Amir Ginzburg (Trillium Health Centre, Mississauga, ON).

Pre-conference Symposium 2 – The Economics of Healthcare Safety

The pre-conference symposium focused on the challenges related to the cost of unsafe care in Canada, the lessons that healthcare can learn from other industries about improving safety while reducing or maintaining costs, and models for improving quality and safety used by other countries.
The economics of healthcare safety is a topic area that is still in early development.  There was general consensus that traditional economic models are not yet sufficient to fully describe opportunities in this area of healthcare improvement. The speakers and attendees explored opportunities where Canada could advance this formative yet vitally important area.

Handouts for all speaker presentations are available at

Halifax 10 Poster winners

The team from Mount Sinai Hospital led by Jody Tone was awarded “Best Poster” at the Halifax 10 Patient Safety Symposium. “Standardizing Nursing Shift Handovers” was selected by a panel of judges as making the best contribution to knowledge on a patient safety issue.  The best “Student Poster” was awarded to Natasha Scott from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. The poster profiled Patient versus Occupational Safety Culture: Competing forces or two sides of the same coin?

There were more than 77 posters displayed from across Canada. The judging panel included Dr. Ed Etchells (Sunnybrook Health Science Center), Dr. Anne Matlow (Hospital for Sick Children), Dr. Micheline Ste.-Marie (Montreal Children’s Hospital), G. Ross Baker (University of Toronto), Laurel Taylor and Sandi Kossey (Canadian Patient Safety Institute).

Congratulations to the team and to Mount Sinai Hospital and to Natasha Scott for their contributions to advance patient safety! For more information on these posters, contact Laurel Taylor at