Accreditation Canada report identifies opportunities to improve safety in care transitions in Canadian health care organizations

OTTAWA, Oct. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - In its annual Canadian Health Accreditation report "Safety in Canadian health care organizations: A focus on transitions in care and Required Organizational Practices", Accreditation Canada turns the lens on care transitions - handovers at shift changes, patient transfers, discharges and referrals - in Canadian health care organizations, and finds opportunities for improvement.

Care transitions are critical points in the care system during which the communication and/or transfer of information is vulnerable. A breakdown in communication creates safety risks for patients and an associated increase in costs to the health care system.

In 2012, 277 health care organizations across the country were assessed by Accreditation Canada surveyors, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and therapists, using the rigorous Qmentum program. Qmentum features standards and Required Organizational Practices (ROPs) - evidence-based practices to mitigate risk - that provide organizations with a roadmap for pursuing quality in health service delivery. By examining transition points across all services and programs as patients experience care, Qmentum supports the concept of patient care as a shared responsibility between providers, patients and their families.

Results indicate that participating health care organizations achieved a high level of compliance with standards related to coordinating services across the continuum of care. However, there was a drop in compliance with follow-up to evaluate the effectiveness of those transitions, highlighting a key opportunity for improvement in the health care system.

The data also reveals that while efforts to improve medication reconciliation - a significant component in care transitions - are increasing (compliance rates were up 11% to 71% at admission and up 12% to 62% at transfer/discharge over the previous year), the relatively low compliance rate remains an area that organizations should continue to focus on.

Accreditation Canada is committed to improving quality and safety in health services and continues to enhance the accreditation program. As research and leading practice identify opportunities to improve care transitions, that content is embedded in the standards and ROPs.

To learn more about this topic, please read the full Report.

Accreditation Canada is an independent, not-for-profit, organization that provides health services organizations across Canada and internationally with a rigorous and comprehensive accreditation process. It fosters ongoing quality improvement based on evidence-based standards and external peer review. Accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care, Accreditation Canada has helped organizations strive for excellence for 55 years.

SOURCE: Accreditation Canada

For further information:

Rhona Lahey, Director, Communications and Outreach, Accreditation Canada
(613) 738-3800, x. 408

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