Episode 3 – Chris Power
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute: Fostering safer care across the country
Since 2003, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) has been advancing patient safety and quality across the country. Meet CEO, Chris Power, who describes what led to these improvements and provides insight on how we can all take part in making health care safer. Transcript: Full episode 24:22 [Soundclip] CHRIS POWER – When we put a face to it, when you can see the person who has been harmed and you understand the impact that that has had on their life, it does change the game for you. [00:12] MICHELLE PRESTON – That is Chris Power, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, the CPSI, speaking about the impact of patient safety events, medical errors. As patients, she says we all have a part to play in reducing preventable harm. And if you are a health care provider, she has an important message for you. Stay tuned for more from the leader of one of the most important organizations in the Canadian health care system. I’m Michelle Preston and this is Patient Safety Voices. [Soundclip] MICHELLE PRESTON – Chris, thank you for joining me today. CHRIS POWER – My pleasure Michelle. MICHELLE PRESTON – So I wanted to start off with your personal journey in health care. You’ve had a very interesting and diverse career. You started as a front-line nurse in Halifax. You quickly moved into management positions, later on into VP roles, and of course today you are CEO of CPSI. When you took on your role as CEO, you were quoted as saying, “I want make a difference in the lives of those I have the privilege to serve.” Can you talk a bit about your personal journey in health care, Chris, and describe how patient safety and quality of care became such a focus for you? [01:25] CHRIS POWER – Sure, well you know, I tell people that I feel very, very lucky. I’ve had a great career and lots of people opened doors for me and believed in me, so I do try to give back that way too to people who are coming up through the health care system. But, when I started my career as a nurse, I remember my very first day of nursing, my mother saying to me, you need to treat every person in that bed like it’s your grandmother, or your mother or father or somebody that you love. And you need to be making a difference in their life because they are entrusting themselves to your care. And my mother wasn’t a nurse, she was a teacher, but she was a wonderfully wise woman. And so I took that to heart. And that was how I shaped my whole career in health care is every time I met with a patient or family, every time I cared for one when I was nursing, I looked at them as if it was my family member and so, you know, always wanting to be sure that I was caring for them in the way that I cared. So, in my whole career, that’s really what drove me, was making a difference. I’ve taken that with me through all this time. And certainly now that I am with Canadian Patient Safety Institute people will often ask me did I have some kind of adverse event, or was I harmed in some way or a family member, is that why I came to CPSI, and the answer to that is no. I haven’t had any personal bad thing happen like that, but I’ve certainly seen it happen in the health system. When I was CEO in Halifax there were some things that happened under my watch and all throughout my career. So, those things really have a profound effect on you and it certainly did to me and made me want to be always at, you know, at the cutting edge of making a difference for patients and families. So, in this job at CPSI we’re so focused on creating safe environments for our public, our patients and families, and it is a real gift to be able to do that. MICHELLE PRESTON: What a wonderful story and kudos to your mother for instilling the real values, I think, of providing safe quality care. Moving on now to a new report that came out last October, Measuring Patient Harm in Canadian Hospitals, put out by CPSI and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). It says 1 in 18 patients experience harm, 1 in 5 patients have more than one harmful event and some very interesting statistics in the report:
- An estimated 1,600 hospital beds across the country are occupied by a patient who suffered harm
- In 2014-2015, approximately 12.5% of patients with at least one harmful event died in hospital.