Health :: B.C. invests in provincial patient safety initiative

Government has invested $2.3 million towards development of a provincewide patient safety learning system based on the success of pilot-testing at two B.C. hospitals, announced Health Minister George Abbott during Canadian Patient Safety Week.

Funding from the Province will allow the BC Patient Safety Task Force to begin initial implementation of the patient safety learning system, which assists health professionals, health-care workers and facility staff in reporting incidents and is one of the first of its kind in Canada.

“We are committed to continuously looking for ways to improve patient safety throughout British Columbia,” said Abbott. “We need to learn from adverse events if we are to reduce risk-related incidents in hospitals and health facility settings.”

The web-based reporting and learning tool has been piloted at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at BC Women’s Hospital as well as at the Vascular and General Surgery Unit at Vancouver General Hospital. The project was evaluated by the Ministry of Health, the BC Patient Safety Task Force and health authorities.

Adverse events are more easily captured now by more health professionals and support staff and with greater accuracy. Between May and July 2007, the patient safety learning system showed an increase in patient safety reports at BC Women’s Hospital. Reports submitted during a 10-week period between June and August 2007 at Vancouver General Hospital’s Vascular and General Surgery Unit also showed an increase in patient safety events recorded by health professionals and support staff.

“By providing health professionals with a system to identify concerns or incidents, we can ensure that patients have the safest environment where they receive care,” said Dr. Doug Cochrane, chair of the BC Patient Safety Task Force.

Patients in British Columbia are encouraged to take responsibility for their health by being actively involved through discussions with their health professional as part of Canadian Patient Safety Week from Oct. 8-13. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute’s national campaign will see hundreds of health-care organizations and health professionals across the country involved by promoting the role of good communication in health care through the theme: Patient Safety: Be Involved. Ask. Talk. Listen.

Since 2001, British Columbia has introduced a number of new patient safety measures and strengthened existing safety measures, including expanding B.C.’s PharmaNet system and creating a Ministry of Health division dedicated to patient safety. In January 2005, the Province announced $10 million to continue making B.C. the safest place to be a patient, which included $6 million over three years to support the Patient Safety Task Force, the Provincial Infection Control Network (PICNet BC) and the first academic Chair in Patient Safety at UBC.


Health :: B.C. invests in provincial patient safety initiative
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