Frustrated doc at computerProving that no system is infallible, this March, BC PSLS experienced an unexpected system outage.

BC PSLS was ‘down’ across the province over an entire weekend – from Friday evening to Monday morning – which meant BC healthcare providers in all areas were faced with filling out “old school” paper-based incident forms, putting off reporting until later or using word of mouth. We know that in some cases, unfortunately, reporting just didn’t happen as people moved on to something else more pressing.

We know the system outage was inconvenient for many BC healthcare providers who depend on BC PSLS to report about patient safety concerns as a way to learn and improve; we deeply regret this happening. But it’s a comfort to know that even during this unfortunate and unusual problem, a patient safety culture is deeply embedded in the BC healthcare system, now more than ever before.

Since BC PSLS has been in use (6 years now!) safety event reporting and learning has become not just standard practice, but as recently shared by Fraser Health, a key component for building and sustaining a high quality and safe healthcare system in BC.  Leaders, nurses, physicians and others care deeply about the care they provide, are increasingly more comfortable speaking openly about patient safety issues, and are working together to make patient care safer.

In many ways, BC is a leading force behind the patient safety movement in Canada. As the first provincial system in the country, other provinces look to BC as an example of a fully-integrated reporting system, implemented and adopted on a province-wide scale.

Care team at bedsideRecognizing that healthcare can be unsafe, reporting safety issues and responding by implementing the changes required to make it safer are all necessary steps in creating and sustaining a true safety culture – a goal at the heart of BC PSLS and patient safety efforts across the province. Incredible work is underway all over BC, driving improvements in healthcare quality and instilling greater public confidence in BC’s healthcare system.

So the bad news was that BC PSLS was ‘down’ but the good news was that many people noticed! The fact that the system was missed is an indication that BC PSLS plays an important role in the continuum of recognizing, reporting and responding to patient safety concerns.  At the end of the day we truly believe – whether BC PSLS is unexpectedly down or not – BC’s healthcare providers strive to deliver the best and safest care possible, every single day, and we are honored to support their work.

While the province-wide outage was a technical problem beyond our control and the first time BC PSLS has experienced a significant and unexpected outage, we still feel responsible for how it affected our users across BC.  Which is why we want BC’s healthcare providers to know that we’re doing all we can to ensure this problem doesn’t happen again.

Rest assured that since the outage we’ve been working with our partners to learn more about what caused the problem, and we’re making every effort to improve our communication processes, protocols, roles and responsibilities here at Central Office.

We would like to thank all BC healthcare providers who see patient safety as a key value and use BC PSLS to help build a safer healthcare system in this province.

Thank you for your patience and commitment to patient safety!

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