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CPSI Share                                                  
8/20/2012 6:00 PM

​​The Effective Governance for Quality and Patient Safety program was delivered on April 3-4, 2012, bringing Nova Scotia board members, CEOs and senior staff together to have important conversations around the board’s role in quality and safety of care. The program provided participants with evidence-informed approaches to governance and leadership that can be used in setting goals, monitoring improvements and achieving results in the quality of care and patient safety.   

Nova Scotia’s health services are governed by volunteer boards in nine district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre. The program focused on governance in the acute care sector, with 33 participants attending a day and a half learning event in Dartmouth. Through the use of videos clips, case studies, engaging peer-led discussions and a candid guest speaker, the session helped the participants to capture two or three key actions they would take back to their organization to begin their quality and patient safety journey.

“The sessions provided the opportunity for candid conversations and information sharing, and the participants received some wonderful resources that they can share with their larger boards,” says Carla Anglehart, Director of Organizational Development, Health Association Nova Scotia.  “This program brought us to a different depth in dialogue and provided an important piece of education for our boards to fulfill their governance role in patient safety.”

Janette Sears, a board member with the Pictou County Health Authority says the program provided a tremendous amount of information that underscored the complexity of governing quality and patient safety. Sears chairs the Pictou Board’s Quality and Patient Safety Committee and is now using the program resources to develop a plan to measure and monitor patient safety indicators.  Since attending the sessions, Sears has expanded the committee to include medical staff and community members.

“Most often quality and patient safety plans are cumbersome and try to address everything,” says Sears.  “The program helped to reinforce that we can keep it simple initially and take a more straightforward approach. The information was timely, appropriate and provided an excellent starting point to develop a plan that will effectively address our role in the governance of patient safety.”

Both Anglehart and Sears agree that more education on the board’s role in quality and patient safety still needs to be done and they are exploring ways to make that happen. Anglehart is looking to provide governance training for continuing care health boards, while Sears encourages people with experience in health governance to share their knowledge and apply for a position with their local health board. 

The Effective Governance for Quality and Patient Safety program offers a unique opportunity to explore evidence-informed approaches to governance and leadership and to share innovative health governance practices, resources and tools.  To learn more about the program or to schedule a learning event in your area, visit

Developed by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute,  the Effective Governance for Quality and Patient Safety program supports boards in their efforts to improve governance for quality and patient safety. The program includes a toolkit and education session to help healthcare boards understand and implement effective governance practices and processes for quality and patient safety.