'a resource to prevent and mitigate patient safety incidents'
EDMONTON, Oct. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - For the first time, two major Canadian health-care organizations from one province will be contributing patient safety alerts to a publicly available, web-based platform developed by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI).
Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) have started contributing information to Global Patient Safety Alerts, making both organizations part of a global repository for learning from potential patient harm.
"Until recently, limited information has been available on safety alerts internationally," says CPSI CEO Hugh MacLeod. "Global Patient Safety Alerts in partnership with AHS, HQCA and 23 other contributing organizations will change that, and is increasingly recognized as having the potential to improve performance of health-care professionals, reduce patient safety incidents and, therefore, improve patient safety."
AHS has already submitted a patient safety alert about an unanticipated product change that resulted in two medications sharing a similar name and appearance even though they are used for very different purposes.
"This is an example of a perfect storm," says Gwen Erdmann, Manager Medication Quality and Safety, Pharmacy Services, AHS. "The two medications were in similar amber vials, had similar names and were sitting next to each other in medication carts. There was a potential for look-alike medication errors."
Huan Zhang, a respiratory therapist at the QEII Hospital in Grande Prairie, reported a close call regarding the look-alike medications.
"Gwen and her team explored Global Patient Safety Alerts for similar incidents that contributed to the local understanding of the issue," says AHS President and CEO Vickie Kaminski. "This resulted in a highly co-ordinated effort by Pharmacy, Procurement, Patient Safety, Human Factors, direct care managers and staff to implement immediate actions. These actions included creating an urgent Patient Safety Alert to notify all AHS staff and physicians of the potential risk, ensuring storage containers contained the correct products, and developing unique, highly visible medication labels to clearly differentiate the two medications."
"Historically, when an incident occurs in one jurisdiction, other jurisdictions are not made aware of the incident," says HQCA CEO Andrew Neuner. "The learning that resulted from this alert will benefit the health-care community globally."
"I now have access to the learning that has occurred following patient safety incidents in health-care organizations around the world," Erdmann says. "The information will help to ensure avoidance and mitigation of risks to patient safety and support a culture of quality and patient safety."
About Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI)
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety. Funded by Health Canada, CPSI reflects the desire to close the gap between the healthcare we have and the healthcare we deserve. www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca
About Alberta Health Services
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. www.albertahealthservices.ca
About Health Quality Council of Alberta
The Health Quality Council of Alberta gathers and analyzes information and collaborates with Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, health professions, academia, and other stakeholders to translate that knowledge into practical improvements to health service quality and patient safety in the healthcare system. www.hqca.ca
SOURCE: Canadian Patient Safety Institute
For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Cecilia Bloxom, Director of Communications, Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Phone (780) 700-8642; Tadra Boulton, Communications Director, Alberta Health Services, Phone (780) 905-6259