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CPSI Share                                                  
11/6/2013 5:00 PM

​​The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) and the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) value the importance of collaboration to improve patient safety.  The partnership between the two organizations began in 2006, with the development of the Canadian Disclosure Guidelines. The relationship has evolved over the years and the CMPA has provided valuable input on the Canadian Patient Safety Institute’s Safety Competencies, the Canadian Patient Safety Officer Course, the Patient Safety Education Program – Canada, the Advancing Safety for Patients in Residency Education (ASPIRE) program, among other initiatives.

“What I like about the Canadian Patient Safety Institute is the extensive consultation process they undertake in the development of their tools, resources, and programs,” says the CMPA’s Director of Education, Dr. Gordon Wallace.  “We all have perspectives and can learn from each other. The CMPA is extremely passionate about our joint effort to advance a just patient safety culture, and values the relationships we have fostered through our work with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.”

One of the more significant endeavors Dr. Wallace has been involved in is the Safety Competencies. This highly relevant, clear, and practical framework was designed for all healthcare professionals. The CMPA has adopted the CPSI’s Safety Competencies framework and mapped it to the Royal College’s CanMEDS Physician Competencies framework in creating the CMPA Good Practices Guide. 

The CMPA Good Practices Guide (GPG) is available online as a self-study tool to assist medical trainees in preparing for their medical exams, while helping them understand the medico-legal implications of medical practice. Good practices are ways of thinking and acting that the CMPA believes will help physicians provide safer care to patients and reduce medico-legal risk. The GPG also contains a section for faculty, and features a number of modules that can be completed for continuing medical education (CME) credits.

The GPG is organized around seven themes – the six domains of the Safety Competencies:

  • Contribute to a culture of patient safety;
  • Work in teams for patient safety;
  • Communicate effectively for patient safety;
  • Manage safety risks;
  • Organize human and environmental factors;
  • Recognize,  Respond to and Disclose Adverse Events)

An additional domain was added pertaining to professionalism.

The interactive GPG features 124 case studies drawn from the CMPA’s research and analysis of cases.  It includes over 40 downloadable videos and animations, quizzes, and 150 good practices.  Over 115 concepts are also included to help illustrate key processes leading to good practices. 

 “Much of medicine is taught at the bedside,” says Dr. Wallace. “The real teaching is the one-on-one interaction with patients; therefore every patient encounter provides the potential for a patient safety discussion. This is the concept we want incorporated into medical training programs so it becomes part of the healthcare professional’s thinking and daily practice.”

As a mutual medical defence organization, the CMPA researches and analyzes the underlying causes of medico-legal actions and College complaints to help prevent the issues from reoccurring. This evidence-based information is used to develop case studies, prepare articles and special publications, and forms the content of the Association’s educational programs. The CMPA has learned the strength and promise of patient safety science is not all about the individual, but about structuring processes around individuals to minimize the potential for patient harm. This evolution of thinking does not make healthcare providers less accountable for the quality of their work; it means building better structures and supporting leadership to understand the need for process change to advance safer care.

“There are leaders and champions and we have a general sense of patient safety issues, however these must be concrete for healthcare providers at the unit level,” says Dr. Wallace. “To be successful, the focus should be on unit solutions to improve processes of care. We are just starting to understand the importance of the patient perspective in how you create better structures and processes. This reinforces the need to take collaboration and partnerships one step further, by including patients, families, and frontline providers.”

Established in 1901, the CMPA is funded and operated on a not-for-profit basis for physicians, by physicians.  The CMPA provides medical liability protection and continuing medical education for its membership that encompasses over 89,000 Canadian practising physicians and residents.  Last year, over 26,000 physicians, residents, nurses, and administrators participated in CMPA’s educational sessions, including 18 conferences and over 500 presentations delivered for hospitals and medical associations across the country. To learn more about the CMPA, visit