Frequently Asked Questions

What is BCPSLS ?

The BC Patient Safety & Learning System (BCPSLS) is a web-based patient safety event reporting, learning and management tool used by care providers across all healthcare organizations in BC. Provincial data is stored in one database managed by a Central Office team in Vancouver and the information is shared with healthcare leaders across the province. The information helps them to identify problems and learning opportunities with the aim of making healthcare safer for British Columbians.

What improvements have been seen since BCPSLS was implemented across the province?

There is an increased focus on a culture of safety and learning from safety events collectively rather than individually to improve system-wide safety. Paper-based safety event report forms have been almost completely eliminated and replaced with our web-based tool, making it easier for healthcare providers to report safety events, near misses and hazards. Education, training and more efficient tools are now available to equip healthcare staff, managers and leaders so they can fully participate in patient safety event management processes.

How does BCPSLS improve patient safety?

BCPSLS provides a rich source of data for learning and analysis, which is used by leaders to help guide quality improvement activities and patient safety initiatives. BCPSLS facilitates local and system-wide change, leading to safer care for patients in BC.

How does BCPSLS affect me as a healthcare worker?

It takes about 5 minutes to report a safety event, hazard or near miss in BCPSLS. Your manager or supervisor may be notified automatically by email when you report an event so any necessary follow-up work can begin immediately. Your manager or supervisor uses the information available in BCPSLS to analyze and trend the types of events that are reported and then makes any necessary changes to improve quality of care and patient safety. You should expect to hear about some of these findings in safety-focused meetings in your area.

After I report a safety event in BCPSLS what kind of follow-up is done?

The BCPSLS event is immediately available to the appropriate supervisor for investigation. Automatic email notification to senior leaders and risk managers may also happen. Follow-up activities depend on the type of event that has occurred – the degree of harm to the patient, the potential for risk to other patients, health authority policies, and other factors. It’s important that your supervisor lets you know about follow-up done or actions taken in response to your report. Sometimes this will be on a one-to-one basis and other times feedback can be given at meetings, through newsletters or other group communications. Additionally, BCPSLS gives your supervisor the ability to conduct trend analyses and produce reports that can be shared with staff during safety huddles, ward meetings or staff meetings as a means of “closing the loop”.

How are my BCPSLS reports used?

When you submit a report it begins the follow-up process and allows events to be investigated and properly addressed. Your reports also help build a picture of the number and types of events occurring in your area and contribute to the larger view of patient safety in the province.

Who has access to the BCPSLS database?

While any healthcare worker with access to a health authority network can report an event in BCPSLS, access to the BCPSLS database is only granted through specific user permissions. These permissions are determined by the health authorities and are based on the roles individuals have in following up on or being notified about patient safety events in their areas. Users are only able to view data that is within the scope of their permissions (e.g. for their unit, ward or hospital).

Can I report an event anonymously?

Yes, you have the option to report anonymously if you feel uncomfortable identifying yourself for any reason. However, we do encourage you to provide your name and contact information to facilitate follow-up. If you identify yourself when you submit the report form, an email message will be sent to you with a tracking number for the event. You can then use this number to ask your supervisor for an update on any report you have submitted.

What if the system is down? How do I report a safety event then?

Your unit should be equipped with a back-up paper form so anything reported on paper can be entered into BCPSLS later. Ask your supervisor where these forms are kept or check with the BCPSLS Coordinator at your health authority.

Where can I find training and education materials?

Peruse this website, look on your health authority’s BCPSLS web page or contact the BCPSLS Coordinator at your health authority.

Can't find what you're looking for?

If you have a question that is not covered here please check with your manager or supervisor, contact the BCPSLS Coordinator at your health authority, or contact the BCPSLS Central Office by phone or email (contact us).

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