Company Perspective - Clinical Quality & Patient Safety
The safe delivery of healthcare in today’s landscape poses formidable concern and challenges in terms of an aging population, increasing acuity and co-morbidities, diminishing health care resources and ever changing treatment innovations and technology. At the forefront is the realization that a patient who enters the health care system may suffer untoward injury or further illness as a result of their care. Such events have caused temporary and permanent disability, extended hospital stay and in rare cases death. Many of these events are preventable. The patients treated and transported by EMS are not exempt from such events, and one may argue are faced with further perils as a result of care provided within an unpredictable and often uncontrollable environment. Medavie Health Services has recognized and embraced patient safety as a priority and is reflected as such within our corporate values and strategic planning.
The need for formal processes and frameworks has only recently arrived on the horizon of Canadian health care systems. Until recently one would have difficulty obtaining a consistent description of what patient safety actually means. The description would vary by profession, department and province and has rarely been acknowledged as a system issue.
Current definitions of patient safety:
Patient Safety: The pursuit of the reduction and mitigation of unsafe acts within the health care system, as well as the use of best practices shown to lead to optimal patient outcomes (Canadian Patient Safety Institute).
Patient Safety: The freedom from accidental injury; ensuring patient safety involves the establishment of operational systems and processes that minimize the likelihood of errors and maximizes the likelihood of intercepting them (Institute of Medicine).
How are we doing so far?
Medavie Health Services strives to provide patient care that is accessible, reliable, competent and accountable. This goal would only be achievable within an organization that supports patient care with a strong patient safety framework. As an organization Medavie Health Services interacts with and transports more than 250,000 patients per year and travels more than 20,000,000 kilometers per year under ever changing conditions and environments. The risk of an adverse event or a near miss is ever present.
The following represents our efforts to date in developing a culture of patient safety within our organization:
We have identified Patient Safety as a strategic goal
We have delegated focused resources to the task
We have edited all position descriptions in the organization to reflect the role and expectations of everyone in the organization in patient safety
We continue to evaluate and identify of high risk activities
We have conducted organization wide staff surveys to obtain opinions from our staff
We are considering implementing an organization wide electronic adverse event & near miss reporting system (work in progress)
We are currently developing an organization wide patient safety plan (currently in development)
Ongoing communication of key patient safety messages
Patient safety issues and competencies integrated within staff continuing education activities
Within the EMS industry issues surrounding patient safety fall within a number of broad areas. Medavie Health Services is committed to ongoing monitoring and evaluation of these elements to evaluate processes, and to ensure early identification and mitigation of risk.
· Infection Control
· Work Life/Workforce
· Medication management and administration
· Medical procedures and interventions
· Transport / Patient Handling
· Protection on scene
· Patient care (protocol compliance, disclosure)
· Transfer of patient care
· System issues