November 3, 2010

Province launches patient safety website

Manitoba Health has launched a new patient safety website, the latest in a series of steps designed to enhance the delivery of safe, consistent health care throughout the province.

The new website will feature a wealth of material, including annual patient safety reports, analysis and learning sessions for staff, and quarterly critical incident summaries.

Further Reading
Manitoba Health's patient safety website
Report: Patient Safety in Manitoba 2007 to 2010
New video campaign promotes patient safety

The website and new tools are being introduced as the next steps in Manitoba's strategy to reduce errors in the health-care system and foster a culture of openness and transparency among health professionals, Health Minister Theresa Oswald said.

Oswald made the announcement at the start of Canadian Patient Safety Week, which takes place Nov. 1 to 5.
"Patients and families expect the health-care system to investigate when errors happen and make changes to prevent them from happening again," said Oswald. "Patient safety is a priority for Manitoba's health-care system. The new steps introduced today not only support making the system safer, but also improve transparency so that Manitobans can see how acknowledging errors that occur in health care improves patient safety."

The first annual patient safety report, Patient Safety in Manitoba 2007 to 2010, was released Monday. The report shows that Manitoba's mandatory, no-blame critical incident reporting legislation has increased the number of incidents being reported and the opportunity to learn from and prevent the recurrence of errors that do take place.

"Manitoba's steps in patient safety show a commitment to transparency, humility of leaders and the acknowledgement the system is imperfect," said Hugh MacLeod, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. "This honesty positions Manitoba as a leader in Canada and will set the stage for a transformation in patient safety."

Reporting critical incidents became mandatory in Manitoba on Nov. 1, 2006. This was done to help hospitals, facilities, regional health authorities (RHAs) and provincial organizations to learn from critical incidents when they happen, said Oswald. The province is now analyzing reported incidents to identify trends that will further improve patient safety.

"Reporting and investigating critical incidents is the foundation of improving patient safety," said Laurie Thompson, Executive Director of the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety (MIPS). "More of the critical incidents that occur are being reported and that means more opportunities to improve the health-care system and to make it safer for patients."

The minister also noted the province has launched a new website that includes information for the public on what to do if someone has a patient safety concern and how the province is improving patient safety. The new annual report and other patient safety information is now available on the website at

Starting next year, Manitoba Health and MIPS will co-host a patient safety learning day to bring together patient safety investigators from the RHAs, quality improvement staff, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the understanding they have gained from their patients. They will review trends in critical incidents and other quality issues. The goal of these sessions will be to identify actions to address these issues. Increased trend analysis of investigation results will result in opportunities for more learning and improvement across all of the regional health authorities in Manitoba.

Interest in patient safety grew in Manitoba after the discovery of 12 potentially preventable infant deaths in 1991 at the pediatric cardiac surgery program at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. An inquest report was released in 2000, followed by the establishment of an implementation committee led by Prof. Paul Thomas. In total, 53 recommendations to improve patient safety were made. All recommendations have been put in place, including a system to learn from errors, now reported as critical incidents. In 2004, the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety was created. In 2006, legislation was introduced for mandatory no-blame reporting of critical incidents.

As part of the process to increase public transparency, a summary of critical incidents reported to Manitoba Health will be issued on a quarterly basis starting in 2011. Should any major gaps that require immediate attention be identified through critical incident reporting, the province will issue patient safety alerts to RHAs and provincial organizations to ensure a rapid response across the province, said Oswald.

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