doc on laptopBC PSLS is now into its sixth year!

Since our first Go Live in 2008, we’ve seen patient safety become an integral component of quality healthcare across BC.

Here’s a few examples:

  • BC healthcare providers have online access to a variety of patient safety forms, tools and reports (that’s over 100,000 healthcare staff!)
  • Healthcare managers, educators and leaders use BC PSLS data to learn more about patient safety, pinpoint quality and safety issues and influence change (300+ patient safety incidents are recorded daily to guide safety improvements)
  • Innovations in patient safety are happening across our entire health system (success stories come to us from all areas of the province)

With the advancement of patient safety and BC PSLS over the past few years comes the need to thoughtfully plan our future.

We need to build on what we’ve learned, adapt to the needs of healthcare providers across BC and be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that come our way. Specifically, what are the foundational goals of BC PSLS and how can we continue to evolve in the future?

In a nutshell:

  • How can we make reporting simpler and more straightforward for BC PSLS Reporters on the frontline?
  • How can we make follow-up activities more efficient for BC PSLS Handlers and what tools can we provide to help them with their work?
  • How can we promote learning, transparency, communication and solution sharing among healthcare teams?
  • Can we make the BC PSLS database easier to use and more accurate?
  • What else can we do to support patient safety in BC?

We would bet that some of you have already asked these questions. And if not, we’re sure you’ll be pleased to know that we have asked ourselves these questions as key directions for our way forward.

Patient safety wordcloud

Our patient safety word cloud!

Our patient safety priorities are described below. These strategies were developed by our team and in collaboration with our provincial patient safety colleagues during our Shaping Our Future workshop held last November.

Together, we will make great strides toward a safer healthcare system in BC, so we hope these ideas will benefit all healthcare providers in the province.

Develop new “Patient Safety Event Report” forms 

We know that reporting events in BC PSLS can be time consuming, complicated and, at times, unclear (depending on area or specialty). For that reason, we are developing new “specialized” report forms to help. Not only will the new forms ease the burden on Reporters when filling out online forms, but the new forms will significantly improve the reliability and validity of data coming “in” to the BC PSLS database. With better data, Handlers will also be able to more accurately identify patient safety issues in their area(s) and target specific improvements (using data “out”).

For example, forms will be created for:

  • High occurrence events (e.g. patient falls and medication events)
  • Highly specialized categories/areas (e.g. pressure ulcers, surgery and laboratory)

New forms will include specific questions and context-specific examples, making it easier and more efficient for healthcare staff to complete. A new generic form will also be available. Wherever possible, new BC PSLS forms will align with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Common Formats.

Stay tuned for further updates as new forms become available.

Communicate lessons learned, share new ideas and spread innovation

The data available in BC PSLS is extremely valuable and there is a growing need for this information to be shared for learning purposes. We also know that various groups across the province are making significant improvements in patient safety and their experiences would be a great help to others. It’s people who have the power and knowledge to improve patient safety so we have several strategies underway to support teamwork and knowledge-sharing:

  • Our Analytics tools are a sophisticated collection of BC PSLS Reports that are designed with the end-user in mind. Reports are interactive, visually appealing and can be used to quickly identify specific safety issues. Reports can be posted on staff bulletin boards or discussed in staff meetings to raise awareness and bolster communication among healthcare teams. We will continue to make improvements to BC PSLS Analytics tools based on user feedback and needs.
  • Along with our specialized report forms (described above) there will be a collection of specialized reports. Speciality groups from around the province are working closely with us to ensure new reports meet the needs of these unique groups. New reports will be available over the coming months along with the new specialty forms.
  • Online communication has grown considerably over the past few years and we are taking advantage of these exciting tools as a way to share the latest news and updates. This blog, for example, is an excellent way to profile patient safety success stories, a change in practice or a new patient safety innovation. Our online communication strategies will expand in 2014, including our Twitter feed, website, Facebook page and new e-newsletter and we encourage participation from BC healthcare providers and others interested in patient safety.

Follow us on our social networks and stay tuned for further updates.

Strengthen our relationships with other patient safety organizations

Since the beginning we’ve forged collaborative relationships with organizations in the patient safety community (BC Patient Safety & Quality Council, Canadian Patient Safety Institute, The Canadian Institute for Health Information, to name a few). We want these partnerships to continue and we will make every effort to participate in projects and research that aim to improve patient safety in BC and the rest of Canada.

Support the “Patient’s View”

Patients are becoming increasingly well recognized as key contributors to the patient safety movement. Without a doubt, patients (and their families) are in a unique position when it comes to observing safety-related issues that might otherwise be overlooked. The “Patient’s View” initiative is gaining widespread recognition as an effective approach to collecting patient safety data and we will continue to support this initiative as it spreads to other areas of care.

So…what now?

Boy reaching for sky

Reach for the moon!

Indeed, there is a lot be accomplished over the coming months (and years!), but let’s remember that we’ve come a long way too.

Patient safety is our business – it’s everybody’s business – and we look forward to improving BC PSLS and supporting BC’s healthcare providers with keeping patients safe.

As we move forward on this journey together, spread the word about what we’re working on and tell us what you think.

Are we moving in the right direction? How can we improve BC PSLS? Are we making healthcare safer in BC? What else could we be doing?

I will leave you with a quote from Don Berwick, patient safety expert and previous President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, who says that patient safety should be the heart and soul of every healthcare organization. He says, “Place the quality and safety of patient care above all other aims…engage, empower, and hear carers and patients throughout the entire system.”

Thank you and onward!


Additional reading about Patient Safety:

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