Promising results from patient safety campaign in Canadian hospitals

    MONTREAL, March 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Dr. Ross Baker of the University of
Toronto, and one of Canada's leading authorities on patient safety, announced
today that leading teams within the national Safer Healthcare Now! (SHN)
campaign, and its partner campaign in Quebec - Together, Let's Improve
Healthcare Safety - are reducing preventable injuries and deaths in Canadian
hospitals. Dr. Baker reported that the incidence of adverse events such as
healthcare-acquired infections and harm related to medication errors can be
dramatically reduced through consistent implementation of evidence-based
leading practices.
    Preliminary results of the campaign's first phase indicate that real
improvements in patient safety in Canadian hospitals are possible. Baker
cautioned however, that "for patients in Canada to benefit fully from the
Safer Healthcare Now! campaign, greater participation of healthcare providers
across the country is needed, along with continued commitment to use these
leading practices."
    Launched in June 2005, the Safer Healthcare Now! campaign is the largest
healthcare quality improvement initiative in this country's history. Over
600 healthcare teams, representing more than 180 healthcare organizations, are
participating in this pan-Canadian campaign to reduce adverse events in
hospitals. The Quebec campaign - Together, Let's Improve Healthcare Safety -
was launched in Quebec in April 2006, and works in collaboration with the
Safer Healthcare Now! campaign. To date, 30 teams representing 15 healthcare
organizations have enrolled in Quebec. Teams in both campaigns are committed
to improving outcomes for patients by implementing one of the following six
targeted healthcare interventions:

    - Deploy Rapid Response Teams (RRT) - at the first sign of patient

    - Deliver reliable, evidence-based care for Acute Myocardial Infarction
      (AMI)- to prevent deaths from heart attack

    - Prevent Adverse Drug Events (ADEs) - by implementing medication
      reconciliation (Med Rec)

    - Prevent Central Line Infections (CLI)- by implementing a series of
      evidence-based steps to improve catheter insertion and maintenance

    - Prevent Surgical Site Infections (SSI)- by taking steps before, during
      and after surgery to protect patients from unnecessary infections that
      can prolong hospital stays

    - Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) - protecting already
      vulnerable patients in intensive care units (ICU) from a life-
      threatening infection.

    Some key results from the preliminary report indicate that:

    - Hospital-acquired infections affect five to 15 percent of hospitalized
      patients and can lead to complications in 25 to 33 percent of those
      patients admitted to ICU's.  One of the most common causes is pneumonia
      related to mechanical ventilation.  Pneumonia has long been considered
      an occasional, but unavoidable consequence of spending time on a
      ventilator. A number of teams working to reduce ventilator-associated
      pneumonia (VAP) rates participate in both the SHN campaign and the
      Canadian ICU Collaborative.  Some of these teams are reporting
      significant reductions, reducing VAP by 50 percent or more.  Many teams
      have started measuring "time between infections" as VAP is now a rare
      event in their units. For example: South Shore District Health
      Authority, Bridgewater, NS, has had no cases of VAP in 14 months;
      Valley Regional Hospital, Kentville, NS - 9 months; Palliser Health
      Region, Medicine Hat, AB -20 months; St. Paul's Hospital, Saskatoon,
      SK - 10 months.

    - Patients who develop surgical site infections have longer and costlier
      hospitalizations. They are twice as likely to die, 60 percent more
      likely to spend time in an ICU and more than five times more likely to
      be readmitted to the hospital. In Quebec alone, it is estimated that
      for 2005, the cost to treat patients who developed preventable surgical
      site infections was over $10 million. By applying the Quebec model to
      Alberta data, where there were approximately 81,000 surgeries and three
      per cent of those patients experienced an infection, with the
      implementation of evidence-based practices, a 10 per cent reduction in
      infection rates would result in cost savings of $ 4.4 million; and a
      50 per cent reduction, would achieve cost savings of $ 22 million.
      (Health Costing in Alberta, 2006 Annual Report) The Sunnybrook Health
      Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario has achieved a 35 percent reduction
      in surgical site infections in their cardiac surgery unit.

    - Approximately 22 percent of patients who 'code' (cardiac or respiratory
      arrest) are successfully resuscitated. Specifically trained teams of
      health professionals, known as Rapid Response Teams (RRT), can
      intervene at the earliest sign of a potential problem to stabilize
      patients before they stop breathing or their hearts stop. Shortly
      after implementation of the RRT, Nova Scotia's Dartmouth General
      Hospital recorded a 30 percent drop in their number of code calls.

    - Medication errors during hospitalization occur with disturbing
      frequency and over 50% of these occur when patient care is being
      transferred from one setting to another (Rozich & Resar, 2001).  A
      medication reconciliation process, which involves the development and
      communication of a complete and accurate list of the medications a
      patient is currently taking, has been shown to significantly reduce
      these types of errors. Using this medication reconciliation process,
      Safer healthcare Now! teams across Canada are identifying and  reducing
      discrepancies between the medications a patient is currently taking and
      what they should be taking as part of their plan of care.

    "Early results of the first phase of the campaign have established that a
better quality of care and improved patient outcomes are possible, and
achievable," said Dr. Baker. "These indicators show that the SHN interventions
can reduce harm to patients. With more participation, full implementation of
the interventions, and all hospitals measuring and reporting results, we can
make a difference and reduce the incidence of injuries and deaths related to
adverse events."
    "Despite the best efforts of health professionals dedicated to providing
the best care for their patients, when it comes to patient safety, our
hospitals are not as safe as they could be," said Philip Hassen, Chair of the
SHN National Steering Committee and CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety
Institute, the campaign secretariat. "Leading teams within the campaign are
proving that dramatic improvements can be made - that a better quality of care
is possible - the status quo is no longer acceptable."
    "Awareness of patient safety provides a focus for changes in practice
that will significantly reduce the number of needless injuries and deaths
through adverse events," added Hassen. "A commitment to the evidence-based
practices outlined in the SHN campaign can improve patient safety within our
hospitals. This awareness, together with an increased commitment from
Governments, CEOs, Boards, and other senior leaders; and strong clinical
leadership, especially among physicians, will help to assure Canadian patients
that our hospitals are safe."
    "Healthcare professionals across Canada have committed to providing a
better quality of care for their patients," said Hassen. "Patients are
encouraged to learn more about Safer Healthcare Now! and to ask their local
health organization about their participation in the campaign."

    About Safer Healthcare Now!

    The Safer Healthcare Now! campaign, and Together, Let's Improve
Healthcare Safety in Quebec are modeled on the Institute for Healthcare
Improvement's (IHI) 100,000 Lives campaign in the United States. Both the U.S.
and Canadian campaigns focus on six evidence-based strategies to improve
targeted areas of care. The Canadian National Steering Committee, composed of
patient safety leaders in Canada, consulted with IHI to gain valuable insights
into how to plan and coordinate a national campaign.
    Teams are supported by the Atlantic, Ontario and Western nodes, as well
as the Quebec campaign (Together, Let's Improve Healthcare Safety) and three
clinical supports: the Canadian Intensive Care Unit Collaborative, the
Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada, and the Canadian Association
of Paediatric Health Centres.
    Phase 1 of the Safer Healthcare Now! campaign does not end here. Teams
will continue to improve the quality of care for their patients and spread
these practices throughout their organizations. In the coming months, the
campaign's National Steering Committee will be examining additional
interventions that could be implemented in other healthcare settings, such as
long-term or community care. These interventions will be announced in June and
the next phase of the campaign will formally be launched in the fall.

    For further information on the six interventions, please refer to the
Backgrounder and view video files of leading team success stories on the Safer
Healthcare Now! website: <a href=""></a>

For further information:

For further information: John Tuckwell, Communications Manager, Canadian
Patient Safety Institute, (780) 409-8090, C: (780) 718-4841,; Vanda Killeen, Communications Officer, Canadian
Patient Safety Institute, (780) 409-8090,; Cristiane
Doherty, Senior Consultant, Delta Media Inc., (613) 233-9191, 1-888-473-3582,; Nathalie Forgue, Communications Advisor, Centre
Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal , (514) 860-8000 ext. 15380,

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