BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) has introduced an enhanced patient safety event reporting process as part of its ongoing commitment to foster a culture of safety. A number of exciting new operations have been put in place to support staff and leadership in reporting and learning from safety events, including a new BCPSLS report form launched October 18, 2017.

BCEHS oversees the BC Ambulance Service and the BC Patient Transfer Network in addition to operating a number of other programs and services, including Community Paramedicine and the Infant Transport Team. With over 4000 staff, BCEHS dispatches an ambulance to a medical call in BC every minute of every day and treats/transports hundreds of thousands of patients each year.

This dedicated and diverse team of staff and leaders first began using BCPSLS to track and trend patient safety events in 2012, as BCEHS transitioned operations from the Ministry of Health to the Provincial Health Services Authority.

At that time, the Patient Care Quality Office was integral to the process of reporting patient safety events due to its central location and reliable access to the BCPSLS platform. Staff were encouraged to report safety events by phoning or emailing Patient Care Quality Officers, who would enter the information into BCPSLS.

Last year the Quality & Safety team began rolling out changes to streamline BCEHS’s patient safety event reporting process.

The most substantial change was the creation of the Patient Safety Review Office (PSRO) to provide dedicated support to staff and transition reporting from the Patient Care Quality Office. Housed within the Risk Management department, the PSRO helps triage patient safety events, manage critical and inter-agency patient safety event reviews, and provide direct support to staff managing patient safety events.

Patient Safety Review Office (PSRO) team from left to right: Jason Elliott, Robert Graham, Heather St Laurent, Benjamin de Mendonca, Annette Gingrich, and Chad Isnor (not shown: Gord Schroeter)

“The biggest difference is that the PSRO is here to help managers with their reviews,” says Benjamin de Mendonca, Leader, Quality Systems and Processes. “The other arm of the PSRO supports the quality infrastructure by providing patient safety reports, trends, and issues to the quality team and senior leaders.”

Designed to be the single point of entry for staff and external agencies to report patient safety concerns, the PSRO welcomes patient safety event reports by email, telephone, and now, the new BCPSLS report form.

The initiative to directly report into BCPSLS is anticipated to increase staff reporting of safety events and near misses. The quality and tracking of data will also be enhanced. Managers will be notified of new events by receiving summaries from the PSRO, and they’ll be supported to review and follow-up with concerns, which will help pave the way for learning and improvement.

“In the short term, we hope to improve the feedback loop to staff who report events,” says Barb Fitzsimmons, Chief Operating Officer. “In the longer term, increased reporting is anticipated to contribute to informing better care. Reporting and learning in a safe, blame-free environment is a cornerstone of the culture of safety we are committed to foster.”

Ongoing communication will be provided to staff as the new system is rolled-out. Feedback is welcomed, particularly over the next few months while procedures are new. Conversations will be ongoing and stories of patient safety improvements resulting from staff reports will be shared and celebrated.

For more information, please contact Benjamin de Mendonca.


Highlights of enhancements:

  • Patient Safety Review Office (PSRO) provides single entry point for patient safety concerns
  • Anticipated increase in reporting and follow-up of safety events and near misses
  • Improved quality and tracking of data
  • Increased support for managers responsible for reviewing safety events
  • Focus on closing the loop by sharing improvement stories with staff

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