Making health care safer

Hospitals are generally considered to be safe environments. But sometimes patients, and staff, experience harm— Many of these events are preventable.

In their Hospital Harm Indicator Report the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) and Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), show that, in 2014-15, one in 18 Canadian hospital stays involved at least one harmful event that could have been avoided. These events delay treatment, prolong hospital stays, or injure patients. Staff also experience harm in Saskatchewan health care settings. The Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health reports that in 2015-16, nearly 1,500 staff missed work due to workplace injuries.

HQC is helping create the conditions that will make Saskatchewan health care safe for everyone, through leadership development, innovation, measurement, and by leading quality improvements.

Safety Alert / Stop the Line

Between November 2014 and March 2017, a team from HQC led the provincial Safety Alert/Stop the Line (SA/STL) initiative, whose aim is to eliminate harm to patients and staff by 2020. Focused on building a safety culture in Saskatchewan, this strategy includes processes, policies, and behavioural expectations that support patients, staff, and physicians to be safety inspectors, to identify and fix potentially harmful mistakes in the moment or ‘stop the line’ and call for additional help to restore safety. High-reliability organizations, which operate in complex, high-hazard fields with near-zero safety incidents (e.g., military aircraft carrier), have demonstrated the effectiveness of these tactics.

Safety leaders across the province are working collaboratively through a community of practice, known as the SA/STL Network, to adopt standard policies and processes to ensure patients and staff across Saskatchewan experience the same safe care. As of April 2017, this work is led by the Ministry of Health and senior leadership of the new Saskatchewan Health Authority are accountable for achieving the target of zero harm by 2020.

More information about safety initiatives in Saskatchewan health care

There is much work being done in this province’s health system to make care safer for patients and staff:

Latest news: Making health care safer